Alberto Callaspo Rumors

Quick Hits: Callaspo, Cubs, Canseco

As the Red Sox celebrate 100 years at Fenway Park today, here are some links and rumors from around the league…

  • The Athletics had interest in Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo this spring, so Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle wonders if Oakland might revisit the possibility of a trade in light of Josh Donaldson’s slow start (Twitter link).
  • The Cubs are struggling, but ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggests the team’s slow start could enable Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to make midseason moves that will pay off in the long term. 
  • Former Cy Young winner Orel Hershiser says he’s “not interested” in buying an MLB team at this time, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Hershiser, now an analyst for ESPN, had expressed interest in buying the Dodgers when they were for sale.
  • The independent league Worcester Tornadoes announced that they signed 47-year-old Jose Canseco to a one-year contract, ESPNBoston.com reports.

NL East Notes: Vizcaino, Phillies, Mets, Lannan

Earlier today MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reviewed the Marlins' busy offseason. Here are some more links from the NL East…

  • Braves GM Frank Wren told reporters that reliever Arodys Vizcaino will miss the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The 21-year-old right-hander appeared in 17 games with the Braves last year and entered the season as the 40th-best prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America.
  • The Phillies could start the season with prospect Freddy Galvis at second base, or explore the trade market for alternatives. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears from rival executives that there’s a short list of veteran middle infielders available in trades. Maicer Izturis, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Getz and Blake DeWitt appear to be options for teams seeking infield depth. 
  • Even though they're short on left-handed relief, the Mets are unlikely to sign C.J. Nitkowski, Hong-Chih Kuo or Dontrelle Willis, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears the Nationals "still have a lot of motivation" to trade John Lannan and his $5MM salary (Twitter link).

AL West Notes: Sizemore, Ka’aihue, Abreu, Rangers

This time next year the Houston Astros will be about to join the AL West, but for now it remains baseball's only four-team division. Here's the latest news, starting with a serious injury…

  • The Athletics announced that third baseman Scott Sizemore has a torn ACL in his left knee and will miss the 2012 season.
  • An A's official tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the club is high on Josh Donaldson as a possible replacement for Sizemore (Twitter link). However, today's news makes the A's person "want to vomit." 
  • The Athletics would likely have interest in Angels infielder Alberto Callaspo if they explore the trade market for a third baseman, Slusser wrote Sunday. The A's probably wouldn't part with a significant prospect for him, however.
  • Athletics first baseman Kila Ka'aihue told Jane Lee of MLB.com that he was always looking over his shoulder with the Royals. "They never really wanted me there," he said. "I always did well enough to hang around but was always passed up." Ka'aihue is competing for the first base job in Oakland. 
  • The Angels plan to find Bobby Abreu regular playing time –perhaps 400 plate appearances or so — and the left-handed hitter is ‘fine’ with the arrangement, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. Earlier this month Abreu told ESPN Deportes that he would like to be traded if the Angels don't find him an everyday role. 
  • Not counting team president Nolan Ryan and special assistant Greg Maddux, do the Rangers have an ace? Jerry Crasnick asks this question at ESPN.com, pointing out that the two-time defending AL Champions have lost Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson to free agency since 2010. "If we don't have a No. 1, we're stacked with 2s," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "And that's OK.''


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Monday

In advance of tomorrow's 11am central time deadline to exchange arbitration figures, settlements will be rolling in today.  Follow all of the action with MLBTR's arbitration tracker.  The latest for players under $4MM:


Blue Jays Rumors: Johnson, Callaspo, Anthopoulos

Let's round up the newest Blue Jays notes from the Winter Meetings….

  • The Blue Jays are unlikely to make a move for a second baseman until they learn whether Kelly Johnson will accept their arbitration offer on Wednesday, tweets MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.  Chisholm says the Jays remain open to the idea of a multiyear deal should Johnson accept.  Since Johnson won't cost another team a draft pick to sign, he'll probably turn down arbitration.
  • The Jays really like Angels infielder Alberto Callaspo, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.
  • GM Alex Anthopoulos reiterated that his club isn't interested in seven- or eight-year contracts and that if any free agents require that sort of committment, the Jays "probably won't be a factor" for them (Chisholm Twitter links).
  • Anthopoulos said he'd love to make some moves at this week's meetings, but expects it may not be until afterward that things get done, tweets Chisholm. The GM added that this year's meetings are moving much slower than last year's, tweets Mike Wilner of Sportsnet 590.

Dipoto Talks Catcher, Callaspo, Trout

Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has been on the job for approximately two weeks and he's starting to get an intimate sense of his organization's strengths and weaknesses. He likes what he sees so far, but there's still a gap between the Angels' roster and where Dipoto wants it to be.

"Right now, we're a highly competitive Major League Baseball team," he told MLBTR in Milwaukee. "Where we want to be is we want to win the World Series and that’ll be the goal every year."

The Angels will look to improve their offense — particularly their ability to get on base — this winter. Jeff Mathis, a non-tender candidate with a projected salary of $1.8MM and a career OBP of .257 faces an uncertain future in Anaheim. But Dipoto, a former big league pitcher, knows the value of an above-average receiver.

"I do think there’s a lot to be said for what a catcher does behind the plate, how he calls the game," Dipoto said, speaking in general terms. "I'd be hypocritical if I told you otherwise. I always liked the guys who could catch. But there’s the balance that you have to bring to the game and that’s a fact."

Dipoto doesn't expect a major reversal in offensive production behind the plate to occur instantaneously. It's possible Mathis will return as an arbitration eligible player in 2012. However, I've heard the Angels are asking around about catchers. 

Dipoto likes Alberto Callaspo’s ability to get on base, make contact and control the strike zone. At this point, it's not clear whether the versatile 28-year-old will return to third in 2012 or play another position. The Angels intend for Mike Trout to play every day whether or not he's in the Major Leagues and questions about service time will be secondary to the young outfielder's ability to excel in the Majors.

"You need to put players in a position where they can be effective, where they can change your future," Dipoto said.


Wood’s Time With Angels Running Out?

Eight years ago, Brandon Wood was a first-round pick (23rd overall) by the Angels. Five years ago, Baseball America dubbed him the third-best prospect in the game. He ranked 8th and 16th on that same list the following two seasons. Now, the 26-year-old Wood may be an organizational afterthought. According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Wood's chances of making the Angels' roster are dim, barring a trade or release of fellow infielder Alberto Callaspo.

Wood hit just .146/.174/.208 last season through 243 plate appearances. He managed just six walks while striking out 71 times — more than 29% of his plate appearances.

Wood is now out of options, meaning he'd have to pass through waivers unclaimed for the Angels to re-assign him to the minor leagues. Despite his struggles, it's unlikely this would happen, as a rebuilding team (DiGiovanna speculates on Toronto, specifically) would give him a chance based on his track record as an elite prospect.

Despite a strong push over the past week in Spring Training (7-19 with 2 HR, a double, and a triple), Wood remains buried on the team's depth chart. Maicer Izturis and Callaspo are ahead of him at third base, Erick Aybar and Izturis are ahead at short, while the combination Kendrys Morales (who will open the year on the DL), Mark Trumbo, and Howie Kendrick are in front of him on the first base depth chart.

DiGiovanna speculates that a trade of Callaspo to a team in need of infield help, such as the Phillies, would create room for Wood to make the club. We heard last week though that the Phillies payroll is tapped out, and Callaspo is set to earn $2MM this season. A release of Callaspo's non-guaranteed contract would also create room. The Angels, however, would still be responsible for part of his salary and would be risking a somewhat known commodity for Wood's upside, which may never surface.

It seems likely that Wood's time as an Angel may be coming to a close, with either a trade or DFA coming in the near future, giving him a chance at a fresh start in a new organization.


Angels, Callaspo Avoid Arbitration

The Angels agreed to a one-year contract with Alberto Callaspo, avoiding arbitration, according to the team. The sides agreed to a $2MM deal, according to the AP (via the Miami Herald). The 27-year-old was arbitration eligible for the first time.

In 601 total plate appearances last year, Callaspo hit .265/.302/.374. He walks nearly as often as he strikes out (31BB, 42K) and can play second, third and, on occasion, the outfield.

As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, the Angels still have a full slate of arbitration eligible players: Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Jeff Mathis, Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Jered Weaver and Reggie Willits.


Angels Acquire Alberto Callaspo

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star is reporting (via Twitter) that infielder Alberto Callaspo has been dealt from the Royals to the Angels in exchange for right-hander Sean O'Sullivan and minor league left-hander Will Smith.

Callaspo has a modest .275/.308/.410 line in 373 plate appearances this season, though that still represents a big upgrade over the .411 OPS of Brandon Wood, who has seen most of the action for the Halos at third base.  Callaspo was originally signed by the Angels as a free agent in 2001, and spent four years in the club's system before being dealt to Arizona for Jason Bulger in 2006.  With Callaspo now in L.A., it potentially opens up a spot at third base for Mike Moustakas should the Royals want to give their top prospect a look over the last two months of the season.  Moustakas has an OPS of 1.067 in 326 plate appearances at Double-A and Triple-A this season.  

O'Sullivan, 22, has spent most of his year at Triple-A Salt Lake City, where he has posted a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts.  A third-round pick in the 2005 amateur draft, O'Sullivan was the Angels' organizational pitcher of the year in 2007 and has a 5.15 ERA in 17 career major league games (11 of them starts).

The Royals rejected a previous offer for Callaspo two days ago that consisted of O'Sullivan and "a fringe prospect," so presumably K.C. was more attracted to Smith, a seventh-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft.  Smith has a 4.24 ERA and a 3.47 K/BB ratio in 55 games (52 of them starts) in the Los Angeles minor league system, though his numbers have worsened this season as he's been elevated from high-A ball to Triple-A. 


Angels Focused On Alberto Callaspo

The Angels don’t have the resources to trade for a big-name slugger, so they have turned their attention to Alberto Callaspo. GM Tony Reagins is targeting the former Angels minor leaguer, according to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Saxon reports that the Angels “are believed to have offered” Sean O'Sullivan and a fringe prospect for Callaspo, only to have Royals GM Dayton Moore turn the offer down. Callaspo, 27, has a .276/.310/.413 line this season and could play second or (more likely) third for the Angels.

Reagins considered pursuing Adam Dunn, but backed off when he realized that other teams only have “marginal interest” in the pitchers the Angels have in the upper minors. Top prospect Mike Trout is not going anywhere, though teams do have interest in him.