Alberto Callaspo Rumors

Braves Designate Anthony Varvaro

The Braves have designated reliever Anthony Varvaro for assignment, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweeted earlier that the move was expected.

Varvaro’s roster spot will go to infielder Alberto Callaspo, whose deal was finalized today. The righty could be dealt out of DFA limbo, Bowman tweets.

Last season was the second solid campaign in a row for the 30-year-old, as he pitched to a 2.63 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 and a 49.7% groundball rate over 54 2/3 frames. Varvaro also earned good marks from ERA estimators, with FIP (3.21), xFIP (3.15), and SIERA (2.86) all liking his work.


Braves To Sign Alberto Callaspo

5:54pm: Callaspo’s deal is a one-year, $3MM contract, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links).  Another $1MM is available for Callaspo in performance incentives, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

12:49pm: The Braves have agreed to a deal with free agent infielder Alberto Callaspo pending physical, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com first reported on Twitter that the sides were nearing agreement.

Callaspo, 31, is a switch-hitter but struggled from both sides of the plate last year. His .223/.290/.290 slash over 451 plate appearances was obviously well below-average. But Callaspo has produced at an average to slightly-above-average clip in recent seasons, and Atlanta may have cause to believe that he’ll return to that level.

Presumably, Callaspo would have the inside track to take over at second for Atlanta. He also represents an option at third, where he has spent some time, either as a platoon mate or replacement for Chris Johnson if the incumbent is dealt away.


Blue Jays Considering Signing Alberto Callaspo

The Blue Jays are considering signing free agent Alberto Callaspo to fill their hole at second base, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The Blue Jays have already added Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson to their offense this offseason, but they’re still weak in left field and at second, where Ryan Goins currently tops their depth chart. The Jays also have Maicer Izturis, who will be returning from a significant knee injury.

Callaspo, 31, had a poor .223/.290/.290 season with Oakland in the last season of a two-year deal he originally signed with the Angels. He should therefore be available fairly cheaply, however, and Rosenthal notes that the Jays think Callaspo ought to rebound in 2015. Callaspo also ought not to require a multi-year deal, which means the Jays can keep second base clear for recently-acquired prospect Devon Travis in 2016 if Travis continues to hit.

Callaspo had back-to-back seasons of at least 2.9 WAR in Los Angeles in 2011 and 2012. At his best, the switch-hitter has generated value with an OBP-heavy offensive game and a good glove at both second base and third. He did, however, have negative UZR figures at second in both the last two seasons. Still, Toronto’s reported opinion that Callaspo is a good candidate to rebound appears to be well founded — Steamer projects he’ll hit .252/.326/.354 and be a win above replacement if given a full-time job next season.



Free Agent Notes: V-Mart, Hart, Grilli, Ichiro

A few notes on some free agents on a busy first day of the annual GM Meetings…

  • Octagon agent Alan Nero and his team are ready to advance talks regarding clients Victor Martinez, Jason Hammel and Asdrubal Cabrera, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. While we don’t typically see too many free agents come off the board this early in the offseason, it sounds as if Octagon is being aggressive.
  • Corey Hart has received interest from several teams despite his down season in 2014, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).  The market is thin on power hitters and Hart, 32, was a 30-homer threat from 2010-12 before undergoing surgery on both knees and sitting out the 2013 campaign.
  • Jason Grilli has had some interest from multiple clubs, but the bullpen-hungry Tigers aren’t among them, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
  • Ichiro Suzuki has switched agents and is now represented by John Boggs, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link).  Suzuki had previously been represented by Tony Attanasio.
  • Also from Rosenthal, Alberto Callaspo has switched agents and is now represented by Praver Shapiro Sports Management.  Callaspo had previously been represented by Eric Goldschmidt.  For agency info on over 1,700 players, check out MLBTR’s oft-updated Agency Database.

Bay Area Notes: Callaspo, Colon, Arroyo, Vogelsong

Here's the latest from both the Athletics and Giants…


AL Notes: Reynolds, Green, Callaspo

We'll begin a quiet morning in baseball with a few links from the American League …

  • Mark Reynolds started his Yankee tenure with a bang, ripping a two-run homer, going two-for-five, and adding another RBI on the evening. As Mark Feinsand and Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News report, Reynolds and his new teammates and manager all seemed pleased with his signing after the game. The Yanks will hope that Reynolds catches one of his patented hot streaks down the stretch this year.
  • The Angelsacquisition of young second baseman Grant Green in exchange for Alberto Callaspo is looking better and better in the eyes of MLB.com's Lyle Spencer (via Twitter). Spencer says that Green evidently has the kind of talent that it is worth taking a chance on. After an underwhelming (0-for-15) stint with the Athletics earlier this year, Green has been on fire early in his Angels tenure. In his 36 plate appearances with the Halos, Green has posted a .433/.528/.500 triple-slash. 
  • For his part, Callaspo's .229/.308/.371 line since joining the A's corresponds to the OPS+ mark (92) he put up in Anaheim this year. With his defensive metrics trending down, Callaspo seems unlikely to put up more than one win above replacement this season (whether measured by Fangraphs or Baseball Reference) for the first time since he became a regular. He will earn $4.875MM next season before becoming a free agent the following year.

Quick Hits: Lee, A’s, Rays, Yankees

In reality, the Red Sox were a "non factor" for Cliff Lee before they landed Jake Peavy, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Will he get moved today to another club?  Baseball people are highly doubtful anyone would meet the supposed Phillies' asking price of three top prospects for a pitcher who has $70MM left on his deal through 2015.  "I don't know of a team in baseball that would [do] that. Taking on that much money and giving up three legit prospects seems like a stretch for anyone," one exec said.  Here's more from around baseball as we approach the 3pm central deadline..

  • The A's are still pursuing bullpen depth, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.
  • Teams that have spoken with the Phillies say they're not upbeat about making any deals today, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.  Michael Young is still in play, but there's no clear destination for the third baseman.
  • The Cardinals are leaning towards standing pat at the deadline unless there is a last minute drastic change, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the Rays have been looking into at least one more potential deal, presumably to add a bat.  Tampa Bay made a splash earlier this week when they landed Jesse Crain in a swap with the White Sox.
  • The Yankees were mainly working on smaller acquisitions like Alberto Callaspo this week and didn't have any interest in Alex Rios once they landed Alfonso Sorianotweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Callaspo wound up going from the Halos to the A's.
  • The Marlins don't expect to do much today and plan to keep Chad Qualls, Justin Ruggiano, and other trade chips if they can't get good value in return, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Meanwhile, the Marlins are gauging interest in Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com
  • The Royals' search for a second baseman continues, but they don't appear to be close on anything at the moment, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  “Anything’s possible,” one club official said. “We looking at a lot of things, but I doubt anything get done unless things change in the last few hours.
  • The Indians got the left-handed reliever they needed yesterday in Marc Rzepczynski and would still be open to a rotation upgrade, but they don't like the price so far, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  For now, the Tribe is prepared to stand pat.
  • There are a lot of present and veteran Braves who think the club is making a serious mistake by allowing Brian McCann hit the open market at the end of the season, writes Peter Gammons at GammonsDaily.com. "Only the people around the team understand what he means to that pitching staff. He’s a star player in the team concept,” said David Ross of McCann, who also leads the team with a .884 OPS.
  • Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com spoke with Nationals players to get their take on the trade deadline.  Scott Hairston and Adam LaRoche have both been involved in multiple deadline deals.

Athletics Acquire Alberto Callaspo For Grant Green

The Athletics have acquired Alberto Callaspo from the Angels, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweets that the A's will send Grant Green to the Angels in the deal, which has now been officially announced.

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Callaspo, 30, was hitting .253/.323/.348 with five homers for the Angels so far this season, prior to tonight's game. Originally acquired from the Royals, he has extensive experience at second and third base, though he hasn't played second base since 2010. In spite of that fact, the A's plan to use him at second, according to MLB.com's Jane Lee (Twitter link). He is under contract for the 2014 season at $4.875MM — the second year of a two-year deal he signed with Anaheim this offseason.

The Athletics selected Green, 25, with the 13th overall pick inthe 2009 draft. He's 0-for-15 with the A's thus far in 2013 — his first taste of Major League action, but he's batted .325/.379/.500 with 11 homers in 415 plate appearances at Triple-A this season. He ranked among the game's Top 100 prospects from 2010-11 according to Baseball America and in 2012, according to MLB.com.

Prior to the 2013 season, BA ranked Green eighth among A's prospects, noting that he may not be an impact bat but should provide enough offense from second base to be a solid regular. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranked Green as the No. 3 prospect in Oakland's system, noting that he could be an offensive-minded second baseman who has plus athleticism.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Yankees, Angels Have Discussed Alberto Callaspo

6:09pm: The Yankees have indeed called about Callaspo, but they think of him merely as one option at third base, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who adds that the Yankees don't currently have Callaspo on the front burner.

5:47pm: The Yankees have contacted the Angels about third baseman Alberto Callaspo, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler's colleague, Jon Heyman, tweeted earlier today that Callaspo figures to be available as well. Knobler adds that the Angels "have made nearly everyone available" in trades.

Knobler reports that multiple teams have expressed interest in Callaspo, who is hitting .253/.323/.348 with five homers. The switch-hitting 30-year-old is earning $4.1MM in 2013 and is guaranteed a $4.875MM salary in 2014, after which he will be eligible for free agency for the first time.

Yankees third basemen are hitting just .215/.275/.285 this season, and while the Yankees will theoretically have Alex Rodriguez rejoining the team soon, the looming Biogenesis suspensions could take him out of action for the 2013 season and possibly 2014 as well.


Stark On Howie Kendrick, Cubs, D’Backs

ESPN's Jayson Stark begins his latest column with a look at the Biogenesis situation.  As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported, suspension announcements are not expected today.  Sherman expects the announcements to come Thursday or Friday.  In Stark's opinion, the Rangers are acting like a team that knows what Nelson Cruz will do if suspended, in that their aggressive search for a bat suggests he might serve a suspension now to preserve his free agent value.  Meanwhile, the Tigers' lack of pursuit of a backup plan to shortstop Jhonny Peralta suggests he'll appeal.  Elsewhere in Stark's column:

  • The Dodgers and Angels, who haven't made a trade in 20 years, had a "mostly casual conversation" regarding Halos second baseman Howie Kendrick.  There are no indications a deal is in the works.
  • The Angels are at least listening on infielders Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Alberto Callaspo, and seeking high quality big league ready pitching in return.
  • The Cubs could move Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz, but are extremely unlikely to trade lefty reliever James Russell and there's just about zero chance of a Jeff Samardzija trade.
  • Pitchers Ian Kennedy and J.J. Putz of the Diamondbacks and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays "have suddenly been made available."  Trading Kennedy would allow Arizona to clear around $1.4MM toward another move.  Are they that hard up for cash?