Alberto Callaspo Rumors
WEDNESDAY, 2:46pm: Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that the Royals aren't actively pushing any of their players, but they're open-minded with all of them. It seems like Moore will at least listen on Callaspo.
TUESDAY, 10:15pm: The A's and Royals held talks for infielder Alberto Callaspo at the GM Meetings, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The A's would've used Callaspo at third base, but "talks failed to progress."
The takeaway is that the Royals appear willing to discuss Callaspo now that they've acquired Chris Getz from the White Sox. Callaspo, 27 in April, hit .300/.356/.457 in 634 plate appearances this year while playing second and third base. His second base defense graded below average using UZR/150, but it's only a 1240-inning sample from 2009. Callaspo is a valuable player, and he's not even arbitration-eligible yet. He's under team control through 2013. Getz appears to be the inferior player, so maybe the Royals should hang on to Callaspo.
A few Thursday evening links to browse through....
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Houston Astros will decrease their spending in 2010, after the team's payroll exceeded $100MM the first time in 2009.
- Filing for free agency may have just been a formality for Jason Schmidt, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. The 36-year-old righty looks headed for retirement.
- Dick Kaegel of MLB.com hasn't heard anything that substantiates rumors of an Alberto Callaspo-A.J. Ellis swap between the Royals and Dodgers.
- Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times is "horrified" that the Phillies are considering Placido Polanco for their third base opening.
- Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com fields Pirates-related questions from readers. Most of them react to Pittsburgh's recent acquisition of Akinori Iwamura.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star dishes on the Royals...
- Dayton Moore...step away from the free agent market. The Royals are moving toward trades, with an eye on the long-term. Owner David Glass says the plan is to "turn over some of the club." Moore already made a nice move in flipping Mark Teahen for Josh Fields and Chris Getz.
- Dutton again mentions the talks between the Dodgers and Royals on a possible A.J. Ellis for Alberto Callaspo deal. Ellis, 29 in April, posted OBPs over .436 in Triple A for 2008-09.
- The Royals are probably stuck with Jose Guillen, but David DeJesus and Gil Meche could be trade chips. Dutton says the Royals prefer to keep Meche though.
- Dutton says the Royals are more likely to trade for a center fielder than to re-sign Coco Crisp.
- Via Twitter, Dutton says lefty Lenny DiNardo and reliever Yasuhiko Yabuta elected free agency.
After declining their 2010 option for Miguel Olivo, the Royals are searching for a catcher according to Bob Dutton of The KC Star. Dutton mentions that it would be best for the team to fill their hole behind the plate prior to December 12th, allowing them to non-tender the incumbent John Buck.
“We led all of baseball (last season) in passed balls and wild pitches,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “That will be fixed in 2010. Our defense in general is our main objective to fix before next season.
“And it starts behind the plate.”
The team has indicated that they aren't ready to hand the starting job over to Brayan Pena, even though he made "significant defensive strides last season."
Dutton mentions one interesting rumor to watch, a "deal sending second baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher A.J. Ellis." Callaspo, who hit .300/.356/.457 in 2009, would help fill the Dodgers' second base vacancy, while the 28-year-old Ellis would give KC a defensive standout behind the plate. Ellis also has a career .398 OBP in the minors, with more walks than strikeouts in nearly 1,800 plate appearances.
Even though there are plenty of catching options in free agency, Moore acknowledged that his team prefers to improve their club through trades.
“Our free-agent pursuit will not be as aggressive as in the past,” he said. “We’re going to focus on trades first. We’re going to exhaust every opportunity to make trades.
“In the previous two offseasons, we’ve been more likely to pop a free agent or two early on. I look for us to exhaust every possible trade scenario this offseason before we enter into the free-agent market.”
Tim previewed the trade market for catchers back in October. See any fits?
Here's some links to start off a gorgeous Sunday (at least around these parts)...
- After calling out teammate Hanley Ramirez, Bill Shaikin of The LA Times wonders if Dan Uggla might get a ticket out of Florida. If so, he says Uggla could be a fit for the Dodgers, who he says "are not expected to engage in a bidding war to retain second baseman Orlando Hudson."
- Sam Mellinger of The KC Star presents a few ways to improve the Royals for 2010. In addition to not handing out albatross contracts to players like Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Guillen, Mellinger suggests the team trade Alberto Callaspo, nontender Mike Jacobs, and resign Coco Crisp.
- Joel Sherman of The NY Post rates which teams "succeeded and failed in bringing new blood to their organizations" over the last year. The Yankees take home top honors thanks to additions of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher. The Mets ... well they come in last.
- Make sure you follow MLBTR on Twitter for the fastest rumor updates around.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star recently snagged our Rumor Royalty honor for the Royals. It's a way to acknowledge the best beat writer for each team, the person who brings us the most hot stove material. I do a Q&A with each writer, if they're willing. Click here and scroll to see all the entries in the Rumor Royalty series.
Dutton: I think it was a reasonable gamble -- but it was a gamble, no question about it. Callaspo's off-field problems are well-documented, but he'll get a new slate in Kansas City.
The Royals' reasoning was this: They have no long-term replacement for second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, who turns 38 at the end of June. Esteban German is a top utilityman but his production tends to fall off when given regular duty. Callaspo was a top prospect throughout his minor-league career.
The Royals also believe Buckner tops out as a No. 4 starter. I've got to say that I didn't see much in his limited big-league time, but I mean that in both ways. His stuff didn't particularly impress me, but I really didn't see him pitch a lot. Some folks I respect think he's got a real chance.
From Arizona's view, put Buckner on a young, talented team in a rotation that includes Webb, Haren and, probably, Johnson, and there's a chance he really blossoms. Also, the D-Backs don't need Callaspo even if he wasn't a headache.
The question for the Royals, however, is whether it's worth trading a young, back-of-the-rotation starter for a young second baseman with high-end potential. If you need a second baseman, I think it's a no-brainer -- until you factor in that the second baseman brings some baggage. That baggage makes it a gamble.
Buckner, a labrum surgery survivor, has a plus curveball according to Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein. Goldstein adds that he's able to get groundballs and projects as a fourth starter. Throw him in the NL, maybe he could even become a #3.
Callaspo is one of the better second base prospects out there, but keep in mind that good prospects rarely come up at that position. He almost never whiffs, and plays strong defense. The high contact approach led to a .341 average in Triple A this year. That the D'Backs shipped him off could imply they want to sign Orlando Hudson long-term. Perhaps Callaspo's off-field indiscretions played into the decision. At any rate he's a nice addition for the Royals.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 11:20am: Joel Sherman says Stephen Drew, Mark Reynolds, and Tony Pena are also off the table in the Haren talks.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 8:09am: Susan Slusser adds that the A's aren't being unreasonable with Arizona - they haven't asked for Justin Upton or Chris Young. Slusser also notes that Billy Beane wouldn't sit down with the Tigers unless they'd discuss Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. That's when the Tigers turned to the Marlins. Beane downplayed the chances of trading Haren, but what else is he going to say?
FROM 12-5-07 at 12:09am:
Technically it's Wednesday now, and some of the more rumor-filled threads were getting really long. So I'm happy to start a set of new ones. You can check out Tuesday's Dan Haren thread here.
According to Jack Magruder of the East Valley Tribune, the D'Backs are willing to discuss a package of Carlos Gonzalez, Emilio Bonifacio, and Brett Anderson for Haren. That the D'Backs could spare these three very talented youngsters without skipping a beat speaks to how deep their farm system is. Magruder's source says the A's could ask for a staggering six players.
Jose Valverde, Dustin Nippert, and/or Alberto Callaspo could be involved to give the A's some MLB-ready talent. From previous reports, we know that Conor Jackson and Max Scherzer will not be involved. Ken Rosenthal had suggested last night that the A's initial request scared the D'Backs off, but he's since corrected that information.
The A's, however, want to wait for something to happen with Johan Santana before trading Haren.
Additionally, Magruder adds that the D'Backs have a touch of interest in Noah Lowry.
Ben Shpigel of the New York Times has some new Mets info for us today.
- Surprisingly, Shpigel believes the one free agent starter the Mets will seriously consider is Livan Hernandez. That is odd because I had read Livan wasn't high on Omar Minaya's list. We've seen the Mets connected to free agents Byung-Hyun Kim, Carlos Silva, Hiroki Kuroda, Kyle Lohse, and Jason Jennings so far this offseason.
- As far as some unsung trade opportunities, my Mets guy says Ervin Santana, Chris Capuano, Claudio Vargas, and Noah Lowry are being considered.
- According to Shpigel, the Mets hope to re-sign Ramon Castro as their backup catcher. I don't see that happening, as he'll probably be able to snag a starting job elsewhere. Options the Mets are considering to start at catcher include Yorvit Torrealba, Ramon Hernandez, Ronny Paulino, Gerald Laird, and Paul Lo Duca. A source tells me the D'Backs' Miguel Montero may also be on the radar.
- Shpigel says Luis Castillo might command a four-year deal. Say what? The Mets may yet re-sign Castillo but want to see what the trade market offers first. Shpigel names Orlando Hudson, while I've also heard Alberto Callaspo.
It was revealed this morning in the Arizona Republic that one of the Diamondbacks' most asked-about players recently has been infielder Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo is set to back up at second, short, and third this year for the big club. Josh Byrnes stole him a year ago for a mere Jason Bulger.
Callaspo is notoriously hard to strike out - he whiffed in only 6% of his ABs in Triple A last year en route to a .337 average. His Major League equivalent came to .280/.337/.395 in 2006, so yes, he could start for many teams. Baseball America doesn't go in-depth about his defense, saying just that he can "play anywhere on the field." They liked him enough to rate him the 82nd best prospect in the game and fourth best D'Back.
A quick aside to take a fantasy point of view - without power or stolen bases, Callaspo's value will be limited to his batting average and runs scored. Those in keeper leagues can take note. He'll probably get those runs as someone's #2 hitter one day.
Callaspo was careful when asked if he'd welcome a trade to become a full-timer. The Diamondbacks will probably make every effort to keep him; his development may make Orlando Hudson expendable.