Results tagged ‘ Alberto Callaspo ’
A’s general manager Billy Beane has had a busy week – and it ain’t over yet! On Monday, the team signed free agent left-handed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir to a two-year $22 million deal. And later that same day, the A’s acquired right-handed closer Jim Johnson from Baltimore in return for second baseman Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.
Then on Tuesday, the team traded two of its top minor league prospects, outfielder Michael Choice and second baseman Chris Bostick, to Texas for outfielder Craig Gentry and right-handed starter Josh Lindblom. The A’s then followed that up just hours later by sending outfielder Seth Smith to San Diego for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson.
Just the previous week, the team dealt minor league outfielder John Wooten to Washington for left-handed reliever Fernando Abad. And two weeks prior to that, the A’s signed utility infielder Nick Punto as a free agent.
The A’s new outfielder, Craig Gentry – who was nicknamed “Kitten Face” in Texas – is a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play all three outfield positions. He brings excellent defense and speed and hits lefties well, so he figures to take Chris Young’s place as a right-handed platoon player and fourth outfielder who could take over full time in center field for the A’s when Coco Crisp becomes a free agent after next season.
In order to acquire Gentry, the A’s gave up their top outfield prospect, who also happened to be the team’s top major-league-ready hitting prospect, former 1st-round draft pick Michael Choice. After hitting .302 at Triple-A Sacramento in 2013, many had hoped that Choice would be given the chance to fill Young’s role on the A’s roster in 2014. But instead, he’ll get the chance to battle for a starting spot in the Rangers’ outfield this season.
Top talent evaluators are divided on Choice’s chances for success as a major league slugger. But the A’s have a history of undervaluing and trading away talented young outfielders who’ve gone on to become successful major league hitters elsewhere. And A’s fans have to hope that Choice doesn’t turn out to be the next Andre Ethier, Nelson Cruz or Carlos Gonzalez in Texas.
With Choice now gone, Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor are now the most major-league-ready outfielders at the upper levels of the A’s minor league system, while 20-year-old B.J. Boyd and 19-year-old Billy McKinney are the team’s top outfield prospects at the lower levels of the system.
The A’s also traded away their top second base prospect, Chris Bostick, in the deal. And it looks increasingly likely that shortstop Daniel Robertson might have to try to make the move to second base to provide a future double play partner for top shortstop prospect Addison Russell. With fellow second baseman Jemile Weeks now gone as well, Sacramento’s 2014 infield could be comprised of Daric Barton or Anthony Aliotti at first base, minor league free agent signee Jose Martinez at second base, Andy Parrino at shortstop, Hiro Nakajima at third base and Dusty Coleman as the utility infielder filling in at second, short and third.
Meanwhile, RHP Josh Lindblom is likely to start the season in Sacramento’s starting rotation, along with River Cats returnees Arnold Leon and Andrew Werner as well as recent minor league free agent signees Phil Humber and Matt Buschmann.
At the major league level, new acquisitions Scott Kazmir and Jim Johnson are clearly intended to take the place of free agents Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour on the A’s pitching staff. With Kazmir guaranteed $11 million this season, Johnson expected to net $10-11 million in arbitration and seven starting pitchers currently on the staff, the A’s second-highest-paid starter, Brett Anderson at $8 million, is expected to be the A’s most appetizing bit of a trade bait to be dangled at next week’s Winter Meetings. And rumors already have the Blue Jays, Twins, Royals, Yankees, Indians and Mariners licking their lips over the left-hander.
Assuming the A’s are able to complete a deal for Anderson, the team’s 2014 rotation would then be comprised of five of the following six starters: Scott Kazmir, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Sonny Gray. Given the general health of starting pitchers, it wouldn’t be surprising if one out of any group of six starters wasn’t 100% healthy to start the season, so I wouldn’t bother spending too much time worrying about which five of the six will end up making the opening day cut – it’ll surely sort itself out by the end of spring.
As far as the A’s bullpen goes, new closer Jim Johnson, who has saved at least 50 games in each of the last two seasons, and new RHP Luke Gregerson, who has been one of the best setup men in the National League over the past couple of years, are set to join LHPs Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins and RHPs Ryan Cook and Jesse Chavez, who is out options and whom the A’s value as a long man and spot starter.
Since the team typically likes to carry seven relievers, there’s room for one more arm in the A’s pen, and RHP Dan Otero is clearly the most deserving candidate for the final spot. But since Fernando Abad, Evan Scribner, Pedro Figueroa and Fernando Rodriguez are all out of options, it’s possible that Otero could start the season being stashed at Sacramento, waiting for someone to hit the DL while one of the others is given a shot.
Over the past week and a half, the A’s farm system has suffered the loss of outfielder Michael Choice, second baseman Jemile Weeks, second baseman Chris Bostick and outfielder John Wooten. And in the last six months, the team lost its 2007 #1 draft pick James Simmons as a minor league free agent and traded away 2008’s #1 pick Jemile Weeks, 2009’s #1 pick Grant Green and 2010’s #1 pick Michael Choice. 2011’s #1 pick Sonny Gray has already made it to the majors, while 2012’s #1 pick Addison Russell should be starting the season at Double-A Midland and 2013’s #1 pick Billy McKinney is expected to start the year at Class-A Beloit.
As previously mentioned, LHP Brett Anderson is the most likely member of the A’s roster to be the next one to find himself on Billy Beane’s trading block, with infielder Alberto Callaspo not far behind. With six other starters on the staff, a long injury history and an $8 million salary attached to his name, Anderson is clearly expendable. And with a salary close to $5 million and no definite spot in the A’s lineup, Callaspo seems to just be taking up roster and salary space at this point.
Outfielders Seth Smith, Chris Young and Michael Choice have all recently departed, with Craig Gentry being the only outfielder the A’s have acquired to take their place. So it certainly seems like there could be room for one more big OF/DH bat to be added to the A’s lineup to help boost the team’s offensive output, possibly as the result of an Anderson deal.
It’s also been reported that the A’s have been inquiring about middle infielders and catchers in trade talks for Anderson. So the team could be looking for a second baseman to take the place of Eric Sogard, or a shortstop who would then enable Jed Lowrie to make the move to second, or possibly a catcher who would allow John Jaso to take over for Seth Smith in the designated hitter role.
The A’s major league roster currently shapes up with Jaso and Norris as the catching platoon, Donaldson, Lowrie, Sogard, Punto, Moss and Freiman serving around the infield, and Cespedes, Crisp, Reddick and Gentry making up the outfield. Since the team typically likes to carry thirteen position players, that leaves one last roster spot open. At this point, it would most likely be filled by Callaspo. But if he ends up being traded, then it would be Barton, unless, of course, the A’s acquire another big bat who would end up pushing Barton back to Sacramento.
With all the current question marks, one thing seems certain – Beane and company aren’t done dealing just yet, and the A’s roster is far from set. There are surely more changes to come. But for the time being, here’s how things are shaping up for the 2014 A’s and River Cats, assuming everyone who’s out of options can clear waivers.
Tuesday, July 30th: Ports Win Behind Russell’s 2 HRs while Cats, Hounds & Snappers All Fall and McKinney Hits 1st HR
A’s Farmhand Of The Day
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE (Triple-A)
Albuquerque Isotopes 2
Sacramento River Cats 0
LP – Billings 10-5 / 4.23
Farmhand Of The Game:
Pitcher Bruce Billings
(8 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 4 K)
Starter Bruce Billings had another strong outing for Sacramento, allowing 2 runs on just 4 hits over 8 innings of work, but he still ended up taking the loss on Tuesday. Outfielder Michael Choice continued his hot hitting of late, collecting 2 hits, including a double, for the River Cats. Second baseman Grant Green was scratched just prior to the game, and it was later announced that the former 1st-round draft pick had been traded to the Angels for veteran infielder Alberto Callaspo.
Well, the A’s twin curses combined this week when the injury jinx and the third base hex went to work on A’s starting third baseman Scott Sizemore, striking him down on the first day of spring workouts and ending his season before it could even begin. An MRI revealed a torn ACL in his left knee that will require season-ending surgery. As with everything in baseball though, one man’s misfortune could open the door to another man’s fortune. But who will the big winner be in the A’s game of third base roulette? And who should the winner be?
So far, it looks like the team’s favored candidate to get the first crack at the hot corner’s brass ring is minor league catcher Josh Donaldson, who got in 53 games at third base last season in Sacramento and also got in some reps at the position in the Dominican Republic this winter. The other candidates in the mix are infielders Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard, who were presumed to be competing for the A’s utility infielder role this spring, along with life-long minor league infielder and non-roster invitee Wes Timmons. Two of these four players are likely to make the major league roster, while two of the four are likely to start the season at Sacramento.
It’s also possible the team could try to deal for a third baseman, but there seems to be a real shortage of quality third baseman around the major leagues at the moment, which could make the A’s more likely to just try to go with what they’ve got. The Angels’ Alberto Callaspo has been mentioned as a potential trade target, and the team has shown interest in him in the past. But since the A’s are overloaded with outfielder/first baseman/designated hitter types, and so are the Angels, it might be tough to match up on a deal. And it’s hard to imagine what the A’s might be able to offer the Halos to convince them that it’d be a good idea to part with Callaspo.
It’s also interesting to note that if the A’s had any idea that they’d be without Sizemore a month ago, it’s highly unlikely they would have chosen to designate infielder Adrian Cardenas for assignment, as they did at the time. As things stand now though, as long as there’s no deal and Donaldson doesn’t totally disappoint in the spring, it looks as if he’s the most likely candidate to get the first shot at laying claim to the job to start the season. But what about the other candidates? Who has real experience at the hot corner? And who has actually shown the most offensive promise to this point? Let’s take a look at the candidates’ career major and minor league numbers, and let’s throw Cardenas in just for fun.
(Col #1 = mlb games at 3B / Col #2 = milb games at 3B / Col #3 = total games at 3B / Col #4 = mlb avg / Col #5 = mlb obp / Col #6 = mlb slg / Col #7 = mlb ops / Col #8 = milb avg / Col #9 = milb obp / Col #10 = milb slg / Col #11 = milb ops / BOLD = category leaders / Click each player’s name below for their complete stats page)
Player MaG MiG TG / avg - obp - slg - ops / avg - obp - slg - ops
Rosales 72 + 85 = 157 / 226 - 293 - 337 - 630 / 287 – 360 - 481 - 842
Sogard 10 + 15 = 25 / 221 – 277 - 338 - 615 / 295 - 380 – 413 – 793
Donaldson 0 + 53 = 53 / 156 – 206 – 281 – 487 / 268 – 360 – 455 – 815
Timmons 0 + 753 = 753 / 000 – 000 – 000 – 000 / 283 - 391 - 391 – 782
Cardenas 0 + 96 = 96 / 000 – 000 – 000 – 000 / 303 - 368 – 413 – 780
I know that many A’s fans are not particularly fond of Rosales after his extremely poor performance last year. It’s easy to forget though that he was attempting to come back from a significant injury that he obviously never fully recovered from. Nor should his dynamic performance from just a year earlier be forgotten either. Just looking at the numbers though, Rosales has played more major league games at third base than any of the others and tops the competition in major league BA, OBP and OPS and in minor league SLG and OPS. In fact, he tops the competition in all categories except major league SLG (Sogard edges him out by .001), minor league BA (Cardenas) and minor league OPS (Timmons).
So why isn’t Rosales considered the favorite to land the job at this point? Well, perhaps the team feels he still hasn’t recovered adequately from his injury and doesn’t have faith in his ability to replicate his performance level from 2010, or perhaps they just have a good feeling about Donaldson’s long-term potential. Regardless, it’ll be a position battle that’ll be a lot more interesting to watch than anyone anticipated heading into the spring. Let’s just hope that whoever wins it can keep the position from turning into the offensive black hole that it’s mostly been ever since we could last count on seeing Mr. Chavez’s name penciled into the lineup on a daily basis.