With news of Erick Aybar signing a contract extension coming out this week, it should increase the odds that Alberto Callaspo is traded for relief help. The fact that Aybar will definitely be around next year would seem to make Maicer Izturis expendable but I’m thinking Jerry Dipoto knows Arte Moreno did not spend the big bucks this off-season to use an unproven back-up at shortstop, so Izturis remains. While Callaspo put up some excellent defensive metrics at third base last year I’m not convinced he can maintain that performance, and when it comes to second base or shortstop Callaspo is not in the same ballpark defensively as Mighty Mouse Maicer.
Of course, who might go depends on the trade partner. A team that is contending this year is more likely to ask for Izturis or Callaspo and a team that is not competitive would be looking for prospects. And aside from the reluctance to play Mark Trumbo and the inability to win games, the Angels would seem to have one glaring weakness, the bullpen, so the trade partner would need to have an established reliever to send back.
Callaspo does have a history of being traded for pitching, of course. After a pretty stellar minor league career in the Angels organization from 2002 to 2005 which included leading the Midwest League in batting average in 2003 and appearing in multiple Texas League All Star games, Callaspo was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization where he was the 2006 Diamondbacks’ Minor League Player of the Year. He netted in return Jason Bulger, who showed some promise with the Angels but is now pitching for the Yankees AAA team. Callaspo was later traded to the Royals for pitcher Billy Buckner who is now pitching in the Red Sox minor league system. The Angels re-acquired Callaspo in late July of 2010, sending pitchers Sean O’Sullivan (SOS) and Will Smith to Kansas City. SOS was placed on waivers by the Royals earlier this month, passed through and is now playing in the minor leagues as a relief pitcher for the Omaha Storm Chasers. Will Smith is his teammate on the Chasers.
If it seems like every time Callaspo is traded, it’s for a pitcher and they all end up in AAA it’s just a coincidence, that certainly will not happen this time, since Dipoto is a genius. Just look at how things are turning out so far this year.