Spring Training numbers are meaningless. I could go on and on backing this statement up but just take my word for it. So the fact that Jorge Cantu is hitting the ball really well in Spring doesn’t carry as much weight as it should. But after the Angels signed Cantu to a minor league contract, we learned of his opt-out clause that kicks in at his disposal after May 1st. This doesn’t sound like the sort of perk added into a contract of a player that intends to stay in the minors in 2012. If the Angels intend to keep Cantu around, it appears it will be in a major league capacity. This move alone doesn’t ensure him any actual playing time or even Callaspo’s availability via trade. But when combined with Trumbo’s continued development as a third baseman and the fact that once healthy, Maicer Izturis also becomes a viable option there, it suddenly seems like Albert Callaspo may be a strong trade candidate before the season starts. It also helps that Cantu is actually showing signs of being his former self, a .280+ 40+ DB and 20+ homerun hitter. So with that in mind, here are ten possible destinations for Alberto Callaspo should the Angels choose to trade him.
1. Chicago White Sox – The White Sox currently have Brent Morel slated to be their starting 3B. In other words, the White Sox need a starting 3B. If the White Sox would be willing to part ways with lefty Matt Thornton, then I think this trade possibility could develop some legs.
2. Minnesota Twins – The Twins have Danny Valencia at 3B, who has some pop but ultimately doesn’t look like he’ll ever grow into even an average starter. I wonder if a Callaspo for Francisco Liriano swap would work.
3. Oakland Athletics – Inner division trades almost never occur and rarely are they mutually beneficial. So this one is a bit of a reach, but if Oakland were willing to part ways with newly acquired catching prospect Derek Norris, I could see this one working out.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates may want to give their current 3B Pedro Alvarez more time to develop.. But if they think Callaspo is the way to go, then parting ways with Alvarez himself or a lower prospect like catcher Tony Sanchez would certainly work for the Angels.
5. Chicago Cubs – They aren’t exactly in “win-now” mode, so Callaspo makes little sense for them. But if they were serious about fielding a competitive team and living up to the emphasis Theo places on OBP, then I’d certainly do a Callaspo for Jeff Samardzija swap.
6. Houston Astros – The Astros have a couple of semi-promising players in the works at 3B and will be moving to the AL West next year. Perhaps a swap for the Astros’ David Carpenter could work, that way when the Angels promote their minor league reliever David Carpenter, we’d have two on the team. Fun for the whole family.
7. Arizona D-Backs – Ryan Roberts isn’t a bad 3B, he just has areas he needs to grow. Still wouldn’t it be fun to see an Alberto Callaspo for Joe Saunders trade? Both players would be headed back to the organizations they broke into the major leagues with.
8. Los Angeles Dodgers – Angels and Dodgers haven’t exactly had the best trade history, which leads me to think the two teams rarely speak with one another. But the Dodgers have a ridiculous amount of pitching depth in their organization. I wouldn’t mind plucking one of their high end prospects like Eovaldi or Webster.
9. Colorado Rockies – These two teams match up relatively well. The GM’s have worked together, in fact Dipoto got his start in the Rockies organization. The rockies should be competitive now and in the future, but they for sure need a 3B to hold down the fort until prospect Nolan Arenado is ready (1-2 years). There are a few names that I feel could certainly work for both sides. LHP Tyler Anderson or RHP Alex White would work. Catching prospect Willin Rosario would definitely work as would reliever Matt Belisle.
10. Philadelphia Phillies – These rumors have been heating up with the Angels plethora of infielders and the Phillies need. In fact, Buster Olney even talked about such a match recently. I don’t see the two teams matching as far as specific pieces though. The Angels aren’t interested in the Phillies trash like Joe Blanton, but I doubt the Phillies would be willing to part ways with relievers Antonio Bastardo or Phillippe Aumont for Callaspo.
In all honesty, if Callaspo does end up being traded, I’d say the most likely trade partners are the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox. Callaspo for Matt Thornton would be a dream come true for Halo fans, though I’m sure White Sox fans would agree that seems like a lot to give up. But I can certainly envision a Callaspo to Colorado for Matt Belisle trade as well.