The litany of oddities inherent with the Angels in recent years is long, including but not limited to:
- The signings of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
- The abandonment of manager Mike Scioscia’s preferred style of play of pitching, speed and defense.
- Not firing Scioscia when there was a clear disconnect between the team they were giving him and the method in which he and Dipoto preferred to build a team.
- Needing pitching, yet giving away Ervin Santana.
- Wasting money on Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton.
- Mistakenly using a tradable commodity Kendrys Morales to get Jason Vargas.
There’s more, but I think you get the idea. The problem with savaging the Peter Bourjos and Randak Grichuk for Freese and Fernando Salas trade is that it doesn't fall into the category of the above deals.
In truth and in spite of media statements that the industry insiders loving the deal for the Cardinals and wondering why the Angels didn’t use Peter Bourjos to fill their big need – pitching – it’s possible that they offered Bourjos around and this was the best offer they received.
Perhaps there weren’t any better offers for Bourjos to adhere to the s'posdas and shouldas. We heard the same criticisms doled out to Dan Duquette when he traded a supposedly “in demand” arm, Jeremy Guthrie, to the Rockies for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. Blunt policy wonk that he is, Duquette didn’t come up with a series of circular talk that has become prevalent and standard operating procedure among the new generation of GMs to respond to criticism. He said straight out that no one was offering any talented, big-time prospects for Guthrie. The deal he took was the best one out there and he made it while it was on the table.
Would the Bourjos from the winter of 2011 have gotten more for the Angels than the 2013 version of Freese? Yes. Is it a fair, on-the-surface deal looking at the four players, what they currently are and what the teams need? Probably. I'm not a fan of Freese, but the idea that a team was going to pony up a top prospect for Bourjos coming of the past two seasons in which he’s spent significant time on the disabled list with hamstring and wrist issues is wrong. They were either going to get a couple of middling prospects or a player like Freese who is about to get a large raise in arbitration and wasn’t in the future plans of the team trading him.