"We feel Alberto fits our club very nicely, helping to create a natural flow to the lineup," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said via e-mail. "He's a switch-hitter who couples plus defense at third base with a solid bat for average and steady ability to control the strike zone. Frankly, he has a skillset that allows him to contribute in many ways that often fly under the radar, and we're glad to have him on board."
The deal essentially allows the Angels to buy some time with Kaleb Cowart, who they hope is ready to man the hot corner on an everyday basis within the next couple of years.
Cowart, rated the top prospect in the Angels' system and No. 67 overall by MLB.com, is headed into his first season of Double-A. And although the Angels were hoping Cowart would be an everyday player in the Majors by 2014, the much more realistic timeline has the 20-year-old switch-hitter ready by '15.
The switch-hitting Callaspo, 29, has posted .277/.338/.394 line over the past four years, displaying solid defense at third base and an ability to draw walks at the plate, something rather absent from the Angels' lineup.
Callaspo was signed as an amateur free agent by the Angels in 2001, dealt to the D-backs in 2006, then re-acquired from the Royals in July 2010 through a trade that sent Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith to Kansas City. While making $3.15 million this past season, Callaspo batted .252 with a .331 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 56 walks, the second most on the team.
All nine of the Angels' everyday players are now signed through 2014, with the remaining eight -- Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo –- in the books for at least the next three years.
"There's benefit -- most notably cost and positional certainty that allows for both present and future roster planning -- and risk -- always the threat of injury," Dipoto wrote. " At the end of the day, the most significant benefit is having productive players who stay healthy and fit together, both on the field and in the clubhouse. We feel like this group gives us that opportunity."