Aug 11, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Oakland Athletics second baseman Alberto Callaspo (18) slides safely into third base in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Athletics beat the Blue Jays 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
I think all of us were a little puzzled when the A’s Shipped Grant Green to the Angels for Alberto Callaspo. After all, at one point, Grant Green was the brilliant future of the A’s at second base, a position Jemile Weeks has apparently permanently abandoned, (along with his sense of humor, internal drive and ability to hit a ball with any movement on it at all). With Green in place, and Sogard playing relatively well, a lot of people looked for the A’s to make a move at shortstop, giving Bob Melvin the chance to move Jed Lowrie to second, a position that fits his skills (i.e., his arm) a bit better.
When Callaspo showed up and immediately went hitless for a long spell, disquiet set in. Shouldn’t we have given Green a chance? What if Green turned into a superstar? Do we really want to help the Angels? And how was Callaspo an upgrade from fan-favorite Adam Rosales?
Well the complete logic of the trade finally snapped into focus today. First, let’s not kid ourselves about Grant Green. Besides his abysmal hitting with the Athletics, he committed two errors in each of his starts. If you’re not hitting, you can’t do that.
So here comes Alberto Callaspo. Here’s some things we (or I) forgot. He can play third base. That’s right. Besides having the range to play second, he has the arm to play third. Which means he can platoon not only with Sogard at second, but with Josh Donaldson at third, giving Bob Melvin the option to rest Donaldson, or slot him at the DH spot, a positive boon with Coco Crisp on the injury slate. Do you know who the A’s next option is at the hot corner? Brandon Moss. God bless Brandon Moss. Can any of us, including Brandon’s relatives, imagine him diving for a ball at third? To top all that off, Callaspo’s a switch hitter, giving Mr. Melvin yet more options. He’s the living, breathing, talking version of the baseball multitool.
An oh, he’s hitting. To the tune of .455 in the last week, including a scorching double that changed today’s game against the Blue Jays. So Donaldson got to take a day off banging around on the harsh Astroturf of the Rogers Center. (Yes, it’s actual Astroturf. I had flash backs of watching the Phillies at the Vet. You weren’t there man! You’ll never understand!) And Eric Sogard got more playing time, a good thing for a guy who suddenly thinks he can hit. Bless his soul.
This is a huge win for the Oakland infield.
It’s also a move that should give us confidence (like we needed more) in Billy Beane. Callaspo certainly wasn’t on my radar in July. I wasn’t calling for his head like some others when he didn’t hit, but I wasn’t that excited about the move. Now I am. And you should be too. I’m starting to feel a little better about the September to come. Billy, I’m sorry I doubted you.