A’s, Angels Engage in Intra-Division Challenge Trade

After a rumor filled day with no real action, it looks like the last night before the trade deadline is going to bring some actual deals, and the A’s have gotten the ball rolling by picking up infielder Alberto Callaspo from the Angels in exchange for minor league infielder Grant Green.

This is an interesting trade for a number of reasons.

1. It’s an intra-division deal, with both the A’s and Angels sending players under team control beyond 2013 to a direct competitor. Intra-division trades do happen, but they often involve rentals, as a team is willing to give up a piece that might not come back to hurt them in the future in exchange for weakening a competitor’s farm system. In this case, Callaspo is under contract for 2014, and Green only has a few days of service time, so the Angels will control his rights for at least the next six years.

2. Callaspo has been exclusively a third baseman for the last three years, but the A’s don’t need a third baseman with Josh Donaldson holding down the fort at the hot corner. It is likely that Callaspo will instead move back to second base, which has been a weak spot for the A’s this year. However, Callaspo hasn’t played second base since 2010, and that was only 100 innings. His last full season at second base in 2009, he posted a -11.3 UZR/-16 DRS. The A’s are essentially going to be experimenting with Callaspo playing a spot he hasn’t regularly played in four years during a pennant race.

3. It isn’t a classic challenge trade, since Callaspo is a 30-year-old veteran and Grant Green is a 25-year-old rookie, but it isn’t that often that you see a one-for-one swap of two guys who basically play the same spot. Green is theoretically a second baseman, but no one likes his defense there and a move to third is considered likely, which is basically the same transition Callaspo made when he was 27. The A’s basically looked at Green as a second base option, decided he wasn’t good enough, and are going to replace him at the same spot with Callaspo. It’s one fringey second baseman for another, straight up.

And, looking at both sides, it’s not that hard to see why each team made this trade. For the A’s, they’re buying low on an underrated player who looks awfully similar to last year’s trade deadline hero Marco Scutaro. For reference, here are their stats over the last three calendar years, side by side.

Name PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
Marco Scutaro 1746 7% 7% 0.105 0.314 0.300 0.351 0.405 0.333 105 -7.6 1.3 7.5
Alberto Callaspo 1594 10% 9% 0.093 0.277 0.264 0.336 0.357 0.308 96 19.1 -1.9 7.1

Scutaro leads the majors in contact rate this year, while Callaspo is #5. Both have basically the same offensive skillset, but Callaspo’s numbers are lower because he’s run below average BABIPs for the last few years. If he gets a BABIP bounce down the stretch while maintaining his control of the strike zone, his numbers could improve quite a bit, and he could be a solid on base guy at the top of the A’s line-up. A switch-hitter, he also gives them flexibility and some depth behind Donaldson in case of an injury, which they didn’t have previously.

And Callaspo’s contract is Oakland friendly as well. He’s making $4.1 million this year, so the A’s will end up adding around $1.3 million in payroll for the last two months, and then he’s under contract for $4.9 million next year. He’s not any kind of star, but he projects as a solid average player for a below market price, especially if he can handle second base. His track there isn’t great, but then again, guys like Matt Carpenter, Anthony Rendon, and Jedd Gyorko had no real track record there and have done just fine making the switch. The year of moving third baseman to second base continues on.

To get Callaspo, the A’s had to give up Grant Green, who probably has more offensive upside but simply wasn’t ready to help them down the stretch. The A’s gave him a very brief look a few weeks back, and he was about as bad as anyone could possibly be, going 0 for 15 and making three errors in five games at second base. Green was worth -0.7 WAR in less than a week’s worth of playing time. Five games is just five games, but those were five truly terrible games, and Green’s minor league track record doesn’t suggest that he’d be a viable option for a contender this year.

The Angels may very well move Green to third base to replace Callaspo and the bat has some potential, so in a couple of years, the Angels may have a decent role player while the A’s have nothing. The Angels certainly aren’t contenders this year and could probably afford to upgrade on Callaspo at third base next year anyway, so they free up $5 million in budget space and get a kid that they can give a couple hundred at-bats to and see if he’s capable of handling third base for the future.

It’s not the most impactful trade of the night — don’t worry, there will be a write-up on this Jake Peavy/Red Sox trade coming once we know who is going where — but it’s still a pretty nice little transaction for both teams. Callaspo is a nice upgrade for the A’s, while Green gives the Angels some potential future value and a little bit of extra spending money this winter.

See GMs, intra-division trades can be fun. Do them more often.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Tim
Guest
Tim
2 years 9 months ago

While it is probably unlikely…there is also a chance the A’s know about a player who could be suspended.

Granted it is more likely he plays 2b…but who knows…maybe Donaldson is on that list?

Slats
Guest
Slats
2 years 9 months ago

No, just no.

Bartolo Colon
Guest
Bartolo Colon
2 years 9 months ago

Fat chance.

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
2 years 9 months ago

If there was a way to punch someone through the internet, you sir, would have many black eyes.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
2 years 9 months ago

huh?

Jayne
Guest
Jayne
2 years 9 months ago

If wishes were horses, we’d all be eating steak.

Bill
Guest
Bill
2 years 9 months ago

I have it from a good source that Donaldson bets on baseball.

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 9 months ago

I have it from a good source that I don’t have very good sources.

BX
Guest
BX
2 years 9 months ago

The A’s make em a lot too, apparently.

The A’s have traded with every AL West rival once in the 2013 calendar year except for Texas.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 9 months ago

Good for the A’s. I’ve always though that intradivision bogeyman was silly.

Bryrob58
Guest
2 years 9 months ago

Seems like a pure platoon option with Sogard, while picking up the odd at bat at 3rd.

Also, is there any chance he could play shortstop in a pinch? His limited data there doesn’t look terrible, albeit it’s been half a decade. Lowrie has that injury history… I don’t exactly know what kind of disaster I’m preaching here haha. I suppose Sogard could also slide over.

My echo and bunnymen
Guest
2 years 9 months ago

That was the first thing I checked for this trade and I have to agree that this just appears to be a pure platoon option.

Sogard: wRC+ (LH/RH) 78/103
Callaspo: wRC+ 108/83

chris
Guest
chris
2 years 9 months ago

Absolutely and he can also spell Donaldson at 3b occasionally since they don’t really have much of a backup there right now.

scatterbrian
Member
Member
scatterbrian
2 years 9 months ago

Yep. The A’s basically upgraded Rosales’s role.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
2 years 9 months ago

“The Angels are essentially going to be experimenting with Callaspo playing a spot he hasn’t regularly played in four years during a pennant race.”

I think you mean A’s.

Money ball
Guest
Money ball
2 years 9 months ago

In Billy we trust.

Carlos Gonzales
Guest
Carlos Gonzales
2 years 9 months ago

Even the best make mistakes.

Josh
Guest
Josh
2 years 9 months ago

This doesn’t appear to be one of them.

Slats
Guest
Slats
2 years 9 months ago

Jake Peavy to Boston, Jose Iglesias to Detroit, Avisail Garcia to Chicago.

Bread n Mustard
Guest
Bread n Mustard
2 years 9 months ago

This is a very strange trade. The A’s are probably surprised the Angels accepted it. During those 16 PA Green not only looked lost at the plate, he looked lost on the field. He is probably a AAAA type of player. If he was anything more the A’s would not have traded him.

Nick
Guest
Nick
2 years 9 months ago

Any player can look terrible over 15 AB’s. You’re writing him off because his first five ML games were bad?

That Guy
Guest
That Guy
2 years 9 months ago

No, he’s writing him off because if he was considered a real prospect at 2B, the A’s wouldn’t have made this deal. I can’t speak from personal knowledge, but they’ve bounced him around the field since he showed he can’t play SS and I would be weary.

MonkeyEpoxy
Guest
MonkeyEpoxy
2 years 9 months ago

Just don’t get this from OAK’s side. I think they could plug in Green right now and reasonably expect more than the 90 wRC+ Callaspo has

Tim A
Guest
Tim A
2 years 9 months ago

The part from Oakland’s side I don’t get is why Weeks wasn’t given some PA like Green, too see if maybe 2011 Jemille could come too the party. I do remember last year he was eating it on the babip scene. Did he bang Billy’s sister or something, him and Hiro are in baseball jail for some reason, and apparently neither warranted an audition. I would have been happy to bring Hiro up, so you could cut him loose if he sucks and hope someone else will pick up the check.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
2 years 9 months ago

Weeks hasn’t done anything great in Sacramento. Why bring him up?

Tim A
Guest
Tim A
2 years 9 months ago

Try before you trade, he couldn’t have been worse then Rosales all this time hitting .196, I would have just been stoked too see them try the internal options first, Weeks was really good for a bit.

chief00
Guest
chief00
2 years 9 months ago

Considering the dearth of 2B available and LAA’s poor performance this season, this is a nice–albeit small–deal for both teams.

Krog
Guest
Krog
2 years 9 months ago

Grant Green has been a major disappointment for Oakland. While his bat continues to improve, he simply cannot play defense. He had to be moved off of shortstop and hasn’t been able to stick at second base or centerfield. The next stop is corner outfield, which Green simply does not have the bat to support. Green’s future is probably limited to bench player.

supershredder
Guest
supershredder
2 years 9 months ago

Because 16 plate appearances at the ML level is clearly enough to make a final determination on a prospects future.

Scraps
Guest
Scraps
2 years 9 months ago

He was speaking of his minor league record, clearly.

Eric
Guest
Eric
2 years 9 months ago

If Krog was making that determination on those 16 plate appearances (s)he would not have said “While his bat continues to improve…”

Rich
Guest
Rich
2 years 9 months ago

Defense was a core value for the Angels before they started blowing cash all over the place. The Angels now play brain dead on defense half the time, have poor plate discipline and have shoddy base running that I would no longer call “aggressive”. Green doesn’t seem to fit the mold of the type of player they would covet. Callaspo is a nice add for the A’s. Ultimately, Jerry DiPoto’s having a rough year.

Ignatius
Guest
Ignatius
2 years 9 months ago

Good for the A’s. I don’t know enough about Green to say if the Angels stand to benefit, but I’m glad to see an inter-division trade.

Saying you won’t trade within your division because you’re in direct competition is like saying you won’t trade with anyone in your fantasy league because you’re in direct competition.

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