With an eye towards a post-season run, the Oakland A's traded one of their top prospects to their division rival, the Los Angeles Angels, for infielder Alberto Callaspo. Oakland hopes Callaspo will provide a boost to the A's offense off the bench and at second base against left-handed pitching.
The A's are very familiar with Callaspo, who has been an everyday player for the Angels for much of the past three years. A switch-hitter, Callaspo has eight years of experience in the big leagues. He debuted in 2006 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Traded to Kansas City before the 2008 season, Callaspo had his best two seasons with the Royals before being traded to the Angels near the July trading deadline in 2010.
This season, Callaspo has been the Angels' everyday third baseman. In 334 at-bats this season, Callaspo has a .253/.323/.348 line with five homers. A patient hitter who rarely strikes out, Callaspo has walked 33 times against only 22 strike-outs this year. For his career, Callaspo has walked more than he has struck-out.
Although Callaspo has played primarily at third base over the past few seasons, he does have experience at second base and shortstop and is expected to see most of his playing time at second. Eric Sogard has been the A's hottest hitter since the All-Star break, but A's second basemen have produced the second-least amount offensively of any position this year.
Callaspo has hit better this season as a right-handed hitter (735 OPS versus a 646 OPS) and for his career, he has favored the right-side of the plate (763 OPS versus a 696 OPS as a left-handed hitter).
Defensively, Callaspo could be rusty at second base. He last played a game there in 2010 and hasn't been a regular second baseman since 2008. He will serve as a back-up at third for Josh Donaldson and he could see some time at DH and as a pinch-hitter. Callaspo will likely replace Adam Rosales on the A's active roster. Sogard will become the primary back-up to Jed Lowrie at shortstop.
Callaspo signed a two-year deal with the Angels before the 2013 season and is owed roughly $6 million through this year and next ($4.1 million next season). He is 30 years old.
To get Callaspo, the A's will give up Grant Green, their top pick in the 2009 draft. The USC alum made his major-league debut earlier this month and went hitless in 15 at-bats. He is in the middle of an outstanding season in Triple-A. In 87 games for Sacramento, Green is batting .325/.379/.500 with 11 homeruns.
Since joining the A's in 2009, Green has always hit for average, never posting a batting average lower than .291 in any of his four-plus minor league seasons. Although not a prototypical power-hitter, Green has a career minor league slugging percentage of .469 and he was showing increased power this season.
The biggest obstacle for Green breaking into the big leagues has been his glove, however. A shortstop coming out of college, Green played that position exclusively until midway through the 2011 season. At that point, the A's moved Green to centerfield. He would remain in the outfield until midway through the 2012 season, when the A's moved him back to the infield. After a brief stint at third base, Green settled in at second base and was playing there almost exclusively this season.
Green struggled with the glove during his brief major league cameo, but he still has less than a full year of experience at the position. Green has always received praise from his coaches for his work ethic and there is little doubt that he will continue to work at developing into a better defensive player. It isn't clear whether the Angels plan to keep Green at second or move him again.
Green is a native of the Anaheim area and he attended games regularly at the Big A as a kid. He will turn 26 in September.
For more on Green, visit his profile page here.