Freese on Friday’s trade and his legacy in St. Louis

Jenifer Langosch/

Hours after learning that he had been traded out of his hometown and to Los Angeles, David Freese spoke about his time in St. Louis and what he hopes lies ahead. Here are his thoughts…

“First off, I would like to thank the entire Cardinals organization for bringing me into their family. I made lifelong friends and memories with the Birds. Obviously, it’s bittersweet in a sense. I’m sad a little bit, closing this chapter in my hometown, but extremely excited about joining the Angels. I know some guys over there. It’s a great group. Obviously, they have the desire and hold the expectation to win a World Series. To get traded to a team that has the opportunity to get back to the postseason and do some damage, if it was going to go down, I wanted to go to a team like the Angels.”

On his 2013 struggles and the potential for a fresh start: “I don’t think the frustrating year I had anything to do with being the hometown kid. I think it was some growing pains being in the big leagues, learning a lot, understanding my strengths and being myself. I think that’s something I need to hone in on and be me and just do what I do. I can tell you the last thing I worry about is if I am going to hit. I’m going to go into camp with the Angels and just do what I do and be a good teammate. Being in the lineup that I’ve been in the last few years, it’s going to be pretty similar jumping into this lineup. I’m excited.”

“My time here in St. Louis was awesome. To be a Padre was great, and then to just randomly get brought home by Mo, I think it was his first deal, it was heaven on earth, so to speak. We had some great runs, did some exceptional things and won a World Series. This is a fresh start. You just close a chapter and move on. Going out to Anaheim and joining that crew is going to be exciting. I don’t see it as something that I’m frustrated with getting traded. I’m truly excited. I talked to [Angels GM] Jerry [Dipoto] earlier, and I think he understands how I feel about this. I’m going to walk in there with open arms and have a great time with this and try to help that team win.”

On his spring back injury and current health status: “Right now I feel 100 percent. I’ve been in the gym the last two weeks. The funny thing is I usually take off until about Thanksgiving to get back into the weight room, but I didn’t stop. Me and [Matt] Holliday, we work out together in the gym in St. Louis, and we just kept going. I feel good. The back thing got me a little bit early on, and having 20-25 at-bats in Spring Training was tough. But I just really wanted to get back onto the field and battle through some things early on and tried to get through it.”

“I progressed physically as the year went on. It was kind of a frustrating year, but I learned a lot. To be honest, I had a huge chip on my shoulder. Whether it was with the Cardinals or the Angels, it didn’t matter. This whole winter I’m extremely focused and going to be ready when the time is right, head to Spring Training. It’s going to be a fun year, and I think the fans of Anaheim and the Angels organization are going to enjoy what we do next year.”

On whether he anticipated being dealt this offseason: “I definitely would look myself in the mirror and say, ‘Where am I going to be in March?’ I was ready for anything. I was ready to go to Jupiter. I was ready to go somewhere else. I’m just excited to go to a team that has a chance to do some great things. That was the one thing that I thought about more than anything – if I got traded, I wanted to go to a contender. And that’s how it ended up. This team is going to have every chance to get back to the postseason. Did I know where I was going? Obviously not. But I know the Angels were one of the few teams that if I were to get traded I wanted to go to. I’m excited.”

On Friday’s conversation with GM John Mozeliak: “It was just like every other conversation. We’re friends, and I don’t think a lot of other players can say that about their GM or their manager. I’m very close with all those guys. I told Mo, ‘I’m going to save your number.’ And he said, ‘You better,’ and started laughing. I think Mo is just a great human being. For him to stick by my side and for Tony [La Russa] to just throw me into the lineup – something he rarely did in his career with guys who didn’t have a lot of experience – I’ll never forget that. I have been truly blessed to be a Cardinal for the years that I was around here. We just had a very good talk. Obviously, it’s a tough thing to do on both sides, but it’s just part of the business. I totally understand that aspect.”

On rejoining Albert Pujols as teammates: “Albert texted me earlier today welcoming me to the Angels family. I said, ‘Remember what we did last time we played together? Let’s try to do that again.’ I think it’s going to be good to get back with him.”

On what he hopes will be his legacy as a Cardinal: “I think, especially for a guy who has lived here mostly since I was four years old, … I just hope people remember me as a good teammate and a guy who worked hard and went about it the right way. Obviously, you go through your ups and downs and go through some stuff here or there. But I think when I come back to throw out that first pitch when I’m 60, it’s going to be great. My friends and family, obviously they want to see me at Busch Stadium next year, but they are so excited to see me be an Angel. I think my buddies and family have already bought plane tickets. When you look back at it, you just want people to remember the good times that you had. And I think that’s what St. Louis will do.”

To read more about the trade, click here.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB


Classy comments under these difficult circumstances. We’ll miss David. I’ll say what David had too much class to say: Thanks for shipping me out after a down year. I guess your patience extends to pitchers and SS only. Tough to swallow getting traded by your home town team.

My thoughts exactly. Very sad to see him go!

As a fan of “second” chances as well as blessed with a reservoir of patience, it is sad the front office did not possess just a little of either. I mean David
Freese undoubtedly was the number 1 component that won the 2011 World Series for St. Louis. Don’t know what is worse, all the extended time the Cards hung in with other players who were hurt or underperforming or the fact all this hinges on Kolton putting up better numbers than David. If he does not, the trade is in reality a step backward.
As far as Cardinal players are concerned, I cannot think of a worse day in more than 60 years of following my team.

I have literally bawled my eyes out.

Sara-Sorry for you. Sorry for all of us. Its going to take me a long time to get over this. I’m going to go out and buy a Freese jersey.

I have his 2011 World Series replica jersey. I just wish they would have picked someone else. I love the Cardinals, but this hurt pretty badly. I know, I shouldn’t take it personal at all, but I can’t help be so upset over it. I hope he does spectacular with the Angels. Looks like for the first time in my life I will be rooting on another team. Along with the Cardinals, that is.

Thanks, Jen and Thank you, David for these parting words. David, I can see you smiling broadly with the corners of your eyes crinkling! I’ve watched you play in Memphis and in St. Louis; now I have another team to watch you play for. Reading your comments here makes us feel better, and you’ll be missed. Good luck and have a great year!

Classy to the end. I am totally pissed off at the Cardinals right now. I guess our bench will be Cruz, Jay, Robinson, Descalso and who knows? If they have to stick with Kozma they will have to keep Descalso. If OT was capable of playinig CF and going north after Spring Traininig they would not have traded for Bourjes. that leaves us short of almost any power on the bench. Who will they sign to give us some RH pop off the bench?

If Wong flops we will be in serious trouble in 2014. If MCarpenter has even a little bit less of a year than he had in 2013 we are in big trouble.

I didn’t think I could ever get mad at the Cardinals! Sucks!

Time will heal and time will tell on this deal.Understand why,but wish it wasn’t needed.David Freese was a favorite of mine.Hope whatever plague him last year is gone and he has a great career.People above are worried about our power and run production for next year.I too have concerns,but I also feel there’s more to come from Mo.We’re not done yet and I don’t even count the SS issue yet. Kendrys Morales 1st base anyone?

Dave, handing 2B to an untried Wong is stupid. This might be a slight upgrade over Jan in CF but it shure dfoes not help the bench. MCarp/Wong had 2B covered, Freese/MCarp had 3B covered. There you have an option if Wong does not becime the 2nd Redhead! Decalso would have been expendable in thaty situation.

If Bourjes and wWong are not lights out MO is going to have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy.

Wed still have no p[op on the bench.move seems to say OT will not be on the big team to start the year.

We still do not have an upgrade at SS and now that is a must. this trade did nothing to help theRedbirds.

Stil ticked off in Mesquite, TX.

Ok look, everyone upset about the trade has a right to be considering what the Freezer was to the STL club, but this is a business. The Cards agenda is what it is for a reason. Blame Jon Jay for being a slightly above average defender without a bat. Same goes for Pete Kozma. We weren’t going to resign Beltran for contractual reasons, so where does that leave the team?  You have to find a place for Adams, upgrade CF, and its not like we can bury Wong at 2B considering his potential. STL had a surplus of corner infielders, and a need for a CF. Would you rather see Adams go? Not me. Not when Freese is owed north of $4 mil next season. Not when you have a replacement 3B who is cheaper and more capable both offensively and defensively. Not when you pick up one of the best defensive CF’s in the game AND a promising young outfielder for a guy not guaranteed playing time and a reliever who is without a spot in the pen. I commend Mo and his couting dept. for plugging some necessary holes. David, you will be missed, but never forgotten (I too proudly wear his road WS jersey from 2011).

who are the surplus of corner infielders? MCarp will do fine at 3B and can play 1B but Descalso is a back up. Adams will be 1B and Craig will be in RF.

Descalso can play 2B but not really well. If Wong fails you going to plug in Descalso who will hit below .240. Plus there goes all the bullcrap talk about 3B being a poower position, MCarp is not a power hitter when it comes to HRs.

this trade has opened more questions than it solves.

The Cards are not hurting for money. The extra mil Freese would earn (of a $110 payroll) is insignificant to them. Add $.35/ticket = $1,000,000.

It’s not all about money. It’s about being tough enough and smart enough to make your club better. That’s what Mo did. Ps there is no guarantee whatsoever that Freese would do any better next year. And if you are honest you have to admit David was getting worse in the field as well. I’d rather win than keep favorites.

AND, there is guarantee that Wong will hit all or that Bourjos and/or Peralta will not be a bust. Freese was hurt in 2013 season. Right now the team is not better. Bourjos lifetime hitting stats are well below Jay’s.

If you had one bad year in four, would you want your company to dump you?

I guess we’ll find out this year.

C’mon how can you talk about any Cardinal guaranteed to do better in ’14 than prior year? No such thing.

@cardboy1, when you win, what happens? You make more money…. It is about money, and it was a great business decision. I won’t argue with that at all. But for them to do that to someone who put them on top was like a slap in the face. The days of Stan Musial are gone. Sad.

If Peralta is signed for SS I can live with that,AND not give up a 1st round pick.
Power: We need a 25 -30 HR guy to replace Beltran.I don’t believe Adams can be that guy.I like Kendrys Morales a swithch hitter average 1B glove with power to replace Beltran.Bench: This can be addressed during spring training with guys getting released.Last yr.Wiggington was signed that way.The issue is we need to evaluate better and not sign someone so obviously done. I’d love to sign Omar Infante to cover all the infield spots especially 2b if the Wong experiment doesn’t work out.
This would put DD out of a job,but I think it helps our club more.

Am still honked off at this trade. Maybe the season or spring training will refocus me. Do not know what bothers me more: the trade or that minority of nattering nabobs of negativism who criticized David Freese. These people embarrassed me as a Cardinal fan.

Glad Mo doesn’t operate on sentiment. Why is everyone forgetting we got a very good CF in return. We got better defensively at 3 positions in one deal!!!! That ain’t easy to do. Plus Wong won’t hit any fewer HR’s than Freese and Bourjos likewise with Jay.

On sentiment? What about 2011 World Series. Right. We got what we wanted out of you, see ya! I know it was a good “business” decision, but geez. It kind of really makes me sick that it’s all about money.

You’re assessment is correct. However we won in ’11 ’12 and ’13 with JJ, Pete, and David. We needed a SS who could hit and Peralta was the obvious choice. He hits .260 in ’14 and our lineup would (guessing) hit .285.
Freese ranked 40 something in BA and RBIs. Think about it: 15 NL teams with 8 position players. That’s 120 and Freeser was in top 1/3. Plus it was a down year for #23. Just don’t like the FO and some fans giving up on him for a down year. His career should have bought him a pass. Guess I am not GM material-just a fan who disagrees.

Yes,unfortunately it comes down to money.That said it also comes down to being competetive and the Cardinals have made themselves competetive for years to come.First they didn’t sign Puljos to some huge contract that no one could live up to,and now they ‘ve made a tough decisssion with Freese.It was the right one.Improving at three positions with one move that helps the team.Many have the Cardinals as their pick to win the National League in 2014.Would they be the pick if they stood pat? I don’t think so.Time to say thank you and move on.We’ve all been there or will be some day in our jobs.David Freese will be O.K.and so will the Cardinals.We’ll never forget his accomplishments,but the team must improve and these moves are a step in the right direction.

What I think is that the SS situation looked bleak so the FO decided to improve the lineup in CF and Freese was the causality. Problem is that it hinges on Wong hitting .260-.270. If he flounders at .220 or so, then the trade is a net loss. If Peralta signs first, maybe they keep David.
The Cards are all in on Kolton. Hope he does good.

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