California rivalries dominate Tuesday’s other notable transactions
The three-way deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox was Tuesday’s biggest splash, but there were a few other smaller deals in the penultimate day before the non-waiver trading deadline. Here are three worth noting:
A’s acquire IF Alberto Callaspo from the Angels for IF Grant Green
If an A’s-Angels trade seems odd to you, there’s a good reason for that. This is the first trade between the two teams since 1999 when Jeff DaVanon, Randy Velarde, and Omar Olivares were the key players involved. That’s a signal of how completely the Angels have embraced their role as sellers since Albert Pujols’ season ending injury. On Monday, they traded lefty reliever Scott Downs. On Tuesday it was starting third baseman Callaspo.
Callaspo, who has hit .266/.342/.363 over the last three seasons, is not an impact player, which is one reason why the Angels could part with him despite having him locked up for 2014 at a salary less than $5 million. With the A’s, who have Josh Donaldson at third base, he will likely see most of his playing time at second base, a position at which he last started while with the Royals in 2010, but at which he has 201 major league starts. The question is whether or not he becomes the team’s primary second baseman or if he merely moves into a platoon with incumbent Eric Sogard.
Sogard, a left-handed hitter, has hit just .183/.275/.268 against southpaws in his brief major league career, while Callaspo is a switch-hitter who has had more success from the right side. Either way, he seems likely to displace righty Adam Rosales, who had been Sogard’s platoon partner via an arrangement that had Jed Lowrie moving to second base against lefties.
The A’s briefly tried Green, another right-handed hitter, as Sogard’s platoon partner, but he went 0-for-3 without so much as a walk in all five of his major league games (though he did have a sacrifice fly in his last) and was quickly farmed back out to Triple-A. The 13th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of the University of Southern California, Green, who will turn 26 toward the end of the season, saw his prospect light fade as it became evident that he didn’t have the defensive tools to be an everyday shortstop.
Still, he arrives in the Angels organization with a solid .306/.354/.469 career batting line in the minor leagues and a sparkling .325/.379/.500 line in Triple-A this year as well as an ability to spot all over the diamond, though he’s likely best suited for second base, a position occupied by Howie Kendrick for the next two seasons. This is an upside play by the Angels, one that should at worst give them a huge upgrade over the likes of Brendan Harris, though it also leaves them with a hole at third base assuming the resports that Green doesn’t have the arm for the position prove true. That hole will be filled in the near future by former Rockie Chris Nelson.
RHP Brian Wilson signs with the Dodgers for $1 million plus bonuses
Wilson’s is a major league deal, but he will begin his Dodgers career on a minor league rehab assignment as he continues his recovery from April 2012 Tommy John surgery. The hope is that the former Giants closer will be able to join the major league bullpen by mid-August, at which point he would likely help set up Kenley Jansen. If he’s able to return to his pre-surgery form, he would be a significant addition, as well as a highly sought-after free agent closer this winter, but that remains a big if. Still, it’s a gamble well worth taking for the Dodgers, who are starting to put the rest of the division in their rearview and would benefit greatly from the added bullpen depth in the postseason.
Indians acquire LHP Marc Rzepczynski from the Cardinals for IF Juan Herrera
The primary lefty in the Indians’ bullpen this season has been Rich Hill, who has walked 5.4 men per nine innings and posted a 6.35 ERA. Rzepczynski, despite being a key part of the Cardinals bullpen during their World Series run in 2011, has spent most of this season in Triple-A due to his own struggles. He’s not guaranteed to be an upgrade, but he has had small-sample success against Prince Fielder and he has two team-controlled seasons remaining beyond this one, which made him worth 20-year-old Dominican infielder Juan Herrera, a non-prospect in low-A ball who will take a walk but lacks a position or much else to recommend him.