On Thursday, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquired Kansas City Royals infielder, and former Angel farmhand, Alberto Callaspo.
For months, Angels fans sat fidgeting in front of computer monitors and television screens, desperate for news that their team pulled off some sort of trade to make up for the loss of Kendry Morales, to make up for the failure of Brandon Wood, or just to make up ground on the Texas Rangers.
It didn't matter, as long as the organization showed some interest in its own future.
But this move is far from what most expected, and even further from what they had hoped.
Callaspo is basically a light-hitting utility infielder with good speed, a decent glove, and a little pop. Any Angel fan worth his salt could name three guys like that on the current roster, and at least two more in the minors.
What's most perplexing is that there is certainly no shortage of holes on the big club's roster, but Callaspo doesn't fill any of them.
The Angels still need an everyday catcher who can hit better than .230, established corner infielders who bring consistent power to the lineup, younger corner outfielders with solid gloves and better bats, and at least one reliable reliever who doesn't put the game in doubt when he picks up the ball.
The Callaspo trade addresses none of those issues.
His .275 batting average this season is no mind-blowing statistic. His whopping eight home runs and 43 RBI are nice, but not overwhelming. He's good, but not great.
And he's no vast improvement over Maicer Izturis.
The silky smooth infielder, who was recently reactivated by the Angels, is good for nearly identical offensive numbers to Callaspo, not to mention his knack for getting hits in key situations.
So why make the trade?
Sure, the Angels didn't give up much in return. Right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, the centerpiece in L.A.'s offer, had a strong showing against the Yankees on Wednesday but isn't exactly a can't-miss prospect, and minor leaguer Will Smith has wracked up a 7.00-plus ERA in Double-A this year.
Some posit that the Angels are simply trying to build depth in their infield. Izturis is somewhat injury prone, already spending more than a month on the disabled list in 2010, and Erick Aybar has had his share of ailments as well.
But Kevin Frandsen and, yes, even Wood, already fill those backup roles. They might not be the greatest bench players in the league—particularly Wood—but again, infield depth isn't a pressing issue for the Angels right now.
Which means either General Manager Tony Reagins has no clue what he's doing, or he's gearing up for a much bigger trade down the line.
The Angels have very few players to sweeten any deal for potential trade partners. One rival scout was quoted as saying that L.A.'s minor league cupboard is bare. Teams don't want to buy what we have to sell.
But the acquisition of Callaspo gives the Angels four solid middle and left-side infielders, plus the two aforementioned backups. That's six guys for three positions (second base, third base, and shortstop).
Or as I like to call them, trade pieces.
Write it down: The Angels are not done yet. Not in the divisional race, and not in the trade market.
Callaspo to Anaheim sets up big things for this team as it enters a lengthy set of games against the division-leading Rangers.
The future of the AL West could be decided this week, both on the field and off.
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