Jerry Dipoto may not be willing to say whether or not the Angels are going to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, but we're still pretty convinced that they will wind up selling at some point. Sorry, but that is just how things look and JeDi's doublespeak isn't going to discourage us from continuing on with our series of evaluating each of the Angels' trade pieces. Up this week is Alberto Callaspo.
Yes, I know, this would be a wet dream come true for many of you. While Callaspo certainly has his virtues as a player, he has never really been accepted by the Halo faithful. A day doesn't go by that someone doesn't suggest the Angels pursue an internal or external upgrade over Alberto. However, the Angels have not only held onto him, but signed him to a two-year contract before the season. Now though, with the Angels functionally out of contention, he might be the one player they can trade this season without hurting themselves too much this year or next.
That would be great, wouldn't it? Getting a little something for Callaspo and not really losing any production in the process? What's not to like?
Sure, it is no guarantee that Luis Jimenez can come up and replace Callaspo's bat, but it also isn't a very high bar to meet. What we did see from Lucho during his stint earlier this season is he can replace Callaspo's glove, a bar that has been lowered some given Alberto's uncharacteristic struggles this season. If worse comes to worse and Lucho flames out this season, the Angels can turn to free agency in the off-season. If he flames out even earlier than that, they have Chris Nelson and Brendan Harris to throw at the problem.
Great. Grand. Wonderful. Let's do this. Well, not so fast.
The irony of the situation is that the Angels may not be able to find a take for Callaspo. There had been a dearth of talent at the hot corner in recent years, but that trend has begun to turn around. Pretty much every contending team already has a starting third baseman in place that is as good or better than Callaspo. Really there are just three or four teams who would even be a little interested in Alberto.
The most obvious match is the Boston Red Sox who just demoted Will Middlebrooks. They are using Jose Iglesias at third right now and don't even really have a viable back-up. With their league-best offense, they can afford to pursue a more defensive-oriented third baseman.
After that, the next best option is the Yankees. That's just a mess. Technically, the have Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis but both are hurt and both may or may not return in the next month. They might like having Callaspo just to have an actual third baseman with working body parts on their roster, but they might prefer one that can actually hit, assuming they decide they even need one still by the deadline.
Another possibility is the Cleveland Indians who have been using a combination of Lonnie Chisenhall and Mark Reynolds at third. Callaspo could help them get out of that platoon and put Reynolds back at DH where he belongs, but it is hardly their most pressing concern.
The there is the Dodgers. Their in-house options of Juan Uribe and Luis Cruz are laughably bad, but so are the Dodgers. They just don't want to admit it and consider themselves buyers even though they have essentially the same record than the Angels. Who knows if they will still be delusional enough at the trade deadline to still have interest in Callaspo or any other trade for that matter.
So, yeah, that sucks for the Angels. They resisted moving Callaspo and seeking an upgrade for years only to likely get caught holding the bag now that they have reached a point where parting ways with him might make some sense.