A deer, supposedly without a red nose, nearly ruined Christmas for David Freese, the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans.
Freese crashed into a tree Friday afternoon near St. Louis after he swerved to avoid a deer on the road. Folks in the St. Louis area know how prevalent deer are in the area, especially during this time of the year, and many probably know someone who has hit a deer or have hit one themselves.
Freese was uninjured in the crash, which gives the Cardinals another blessing to be thankful for in the days following Thanksgiving. Freese has been one of the stars of the Cardinals lineup the past two seasons, particularly in the playoffs.
Freese hit .297 with 10 homeruns and 55 RBIs in 97 games during the 2011 season as he battled back from a broken hand he suffered by a hit-by-pitch in May against the Atlanta Braves. He came back strong and was the Cardinals hero in the postseason, where he hit .390 with five homers and 21 RBIs, the last number being a postseason record.
In 2012, Freese hit .293 with 20 homeruns and 79 RBIs, and he played in 144 games, the first season he hadn’t been hampered by injuries.
Those numbers would figure to only increase as he grows into his role as the Cardinals’ everyday third baseman, but that all could’ve been quickly dismissed if the results of his car wreck hadn’t been so positive. Thankfully, the only thing hurt in the crash was his black 2011 Range Rover. Maybe that could give hime reason to ask for a few more dollars in his arbitration hearings this offseason. (Don’t overreact folks, it’s a joke.)
While Freese’s health is certainly the most important element of this situation, the crash could’ve had a significant impact on the Cardinals offseason and 2013 plans if Freese had been hurt. All of a sudden Matt Carpenter would’ve likely been in line to be the starting third baseman instead of trying out for the second base job in spring training.
That would’ve left the Cardinals extremely thing in the middle infield positions, which have been the primary concern so far this offseason. Rafael Furcal would have to be healthy, or Pete Kozma would have to continue his amazing play from late in the 2012 season. Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso would have to platoon for another season at second base.
That’s essentially the lineup the Cardinals used to get within one win of the World Series, but many people would like to see the Cardinals bring in a free agent or trade for a player who would be considered an upgrade over the team’s current middle infielders.
Regardless of how all that would’ve worked out, Freese is OK, and that’s the most important aspect of the entire situation. He has had previous car-related incidents, including a crash in January 2009 when he injured his feet as he slid off of a ice-covered road. He’s also had three alcohol-related incidents, the most recent in 2009, but alcohol had nothing to do with Friday’s crash, just a wandering deer.
Hopefully the next time Freese sees a deer it’s attached to a sleigh on top of his house.