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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Los Angeles Angels - Acquired Bulger

Los Angeles Angels - Acquired P Jason Bulger from the Arizona Diamondbacks for IF Alberto Callaspo.

The A’s may be the Moneyball Darlings, but when it comes to picking up relievers, nobody can match Bill Stoneman.  Bulger’s a former first-rounder by the Diamondbacks and while a failed starter, he’s pitched very well in the minors thanks to an excellent fastball that’s fully back after Bulger’s 2003 Tommy John surgery.  I imagine the Angels will give Bulger every chance to play (though probably not in April) on the team after getting burned by both Jenks and Turnbow starring elsewhere.

Callaspo’s a decent prospect, probably a 2B long-term.  He’s not a great defensive player even at 2nd, but he’s no Scott Hairston.  While middle infield prospects who can hit a little aren’t things you give away, being in the same system as Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick, and Erick Aybar makes getting a full-time job in the majors quite a challenge.

I wouldn’t have done this trade if I were the Diamondbacks.  While they have a lot of realistic candidates for the bullpen, not many are very good pitchers.  Bulger’s yet to establish himself in the majors, but I think there’s a higher chance of him being a solid contributor than Luis Vizcaino or Greg Aquino in 2006.  The trade is more defensible if Albert Callaspo adds a lot to your system but Arizona has both Justin Upton and Stephen Drew so Callaspo again is the backup plan if both those others fail.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Jason Bulger
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
5   2 54   0   56   49   25   4 25 55 4.02


2006 ZiPS Projection - Alberto Callaspo
542 74 147 25 1   9 57 31 29 14 .271 .310 .371


Dan Szymborski Posted: March 02, 2006 at 02:22 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: March 02, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#1880972)
What a deal this would be in the RLPA...
   2. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: March 02, 2006 at 05:06 PM (#1880989)
The A's may be the Moneyball Darlings, but when it comes to picking up relievers, nobody can match Bill Stoneman.

Stoneman's so good at finding relievers that every once in a while he lets another team have one for free, just to level the playing field.
   3. shoewizard Posted: March 02, 2006 at 06:14 PM (#1881065)
That was pretty much my take too. Levski pointed out to me the D backs MI depth is not as good as many think, beyond Drew and Upton. But Bulger throws in the mid 90's, and relievers like that have alot of value if they can control it and throw strikes, and Bulger was improving in this area.

Were it not for Counsell coming up with a torn labrum, I would be formerly against this trade...but now that Counsell is probably toast, it won't hurt to have one more possible option at some point during the season.
   4. DL from MN Posted: March 02, 2006 at 06:46 PM (#1881108)
Stoneman is probably only as good as the scout who keeps finding all these guys. Anyone know who that scout is?
   5. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: March 02, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#1881172)
I think that if everything breaks right for Callaspo, he could be Luis Alicea. Without the breaks, he might be more of a Jose Oquendo.

I said that, and looking them up, their careers actually ended up a lot closer than I'd have thought. So maybe the downside is more like Geronimo Pena or someone, I guess.

Alicea and Oquendo both walked more than Callaspo has in the minors, but Albert has a fine SO:BB ratio (97:144), so he might come along. As I said, if everything breaks right.
   6. 1k5v3L Posted: March 02, 2006 at 11:58 PM (#1881578)
Well, Dan, I disagree here. As Shoewizard mentioned in 3, AZ's infield depth is really an illusion. Once you go past Drew, there isn't anyone in the high minors who can man SS or 2B, and do so with authority defensively while also projecting to hit a little in the majors. Upton is a SS, true, and he may stay a SS, but no one knows when he'll be ready.

Furthermore, Counsell's injury makes AZ's situation tricky. If you don't want to rush Drew, you've got Cintron starting the season at SS, with some help from Easley, I suppose, but you've got no depth at the position. If Counsell can play some, and Cintron can back him up at SS, the two should man the front until Drew is ready. But those are ifs.

Fwiw, I think AZ had much greater depth at relievers than at middle infielders. There are a bunch of guys they can run out at the back of the pen, starting with Aquino and Vizcaino who are mentioned above, to Choate and Koplove (who are still under contract) to wild armed guys like Tony Pena, Enrique Gonzalez, Brian Bruney, even Mr. Jennie Finch, etc.

I think Callaspo is a better prospect than Bulger, and this trade was simply a swap to address depth issues at SS/2B while getting a better prospect in return. I think that Callaspo is a quality prospect, maybe overshadowed by Wood and Kendrick in LAA, but a guy with excellent plate discipline who should only get better with time, imho.

Anyhow, this is what Jim Callis had to say about the transaction:

March 1st ESPN chat

Dave (San Diego): Any opinion on the Callaspo/Bulger deal?

SportsNation Jim Callis: I like Callaspo more than Bulger, but the Angels were in a bind. Assuming Adam Kennedy is their second baseman and Howie Kendrick is ready for Triple-A, they had no easy way to get Callaspo at-bats. I don't think he'll be a star or anything, because while he's a great contact hitter, he doesn't offer much power or OBP or basestealing ability. Bulger is a strong-armed reliever.

March 2nd Ask BA

Where would Albert Callaspo rank on the Diamondbacks Top 10 list?

Simon Boisvert

It seems to me that the Angels should have got more for Alberto Callaspo then Jason Bulger. Why did they not go after Matt Chico, Tony Pena or Micah Owings? I think Callaspo is flying under the radar because he was overshadowed by Howie Kendrick in the Angels system. Why did he go so cheap?

James P. Tate
Guthrie, Okla.

The Diamondbacks system has gone through a lot of change since we finalized their Top 10 for the Prospect Handbook. Arizona has traded for outfielder Chris Young and Callaspo and signed shortstop Justin Upton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft.

I'd line up their revised Top 10 in this order: Upton, shortstop Stephen Drew, first baseman Conor Jackson, outfielder Carlos Quentin, Young, outfielder Carlos Gonzales, righthander Dustin Nippert, catcher Miguel Montero, righthander Garrett Mock and Callaspo. Ranking 10th on that list is no slap in the face, because when we update our farm-system rankings for our upcoming Minor League Preview issue, Arizona will be No. 1.*

The Angels were in a tough position with Callaspo. Adam Kennedy is going to get their big league at-bats at second base, and Howie Kendrick is going to get their Triple-A at-bats. They really didn't have a place to play Callaspo, and while he's a good prospect, Kendrick is a great prospect.

Callaspo is a career .315 hitter in the minors and he's an exceptional contact hitter. He has led the minors in most plate appearances per strikeout in each of the last two years, including a rate of 20.4 in 2005. But he doesn't stand out in any other area offensively. He doesn't have much more than doubles power and his career slugging percentage is just .424. He has walked just 166 times in 544 pro games, so he has to hit for a high average to have a respectable on-base percentage. He has some speed but is just 73-for-123 (59 percent) as a pro basestealer.

A slick-fielding second baseman who also can handle shortstop, Callaspo figures to make Arizona's big legue club as a reserve middle infielder. I could see him becoming a decent regular but I don't see a lot of star potential. The Angels needed to move him, and I'd take Bulger over Chico and Pena because he's major league-ready. The Diamondbacks couldn't trade Owings until the one-year anniversary of his signing last summer, and I doubt they would have made him available in this deal.

[*I guess this settles the debate as to which team has the best farm system...]
   7. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: March 03, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#1881667)
I guess this settles the debate as to which team has the best farm system

I agree. It is always best to take the word of others and not develop one's own opinion.

(For the record, I couldn't care less who has the "best" system.)
   8. 1k5v3L Posted: March 03, 2006 at 01:44 AM (#1881682)
LAWBH, my * comment was a joke with a slight hint of sarcasm. I too couldn't care less about any pundit's ranking of any particular team's farm system. But I suppose I need to resort to smiley faces in my posts from now on; I'd hate it if an Angels fan got really upset by a comment that had the Angels system trailing any other system... (smiley face)

(For the record, I couldn't care less if AZ truly has the "best" system, as long as all of these guys stay healthy and reach the majors, and remain in Arizona.)
   9. NTNgod Posted: March 03, 2006 at 01:53 AM (#1881693)
after getting burned by both Jenks and Turnbow starring elsewhere.

Fellow freebie Matt Wise is also quite a handy guy to have around, too...
(particularly since the Brewers told him scrap everything but his fastball and plus plus change-up; sort of like how Mike Maddux blew up Turnbow's delivery last spring and re-worked it).
   10. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: March 03, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#1881696)
LAWBH, my * comment was a joke with a slight hint of sarcasm.

Yes, I know, so I responded in kind ...
   11. 1k5v3L Posted: March 03, 2006 at 02:10 AM (#1881719)
   12. We don't have dahlians at the Palace of Wisdom Posted: March 03, 2006 at 02:28 AM (#1881750)
Smiley faces for all!!!
   13. Dave Bowman Posted: March 09, 2006 at 05:38 AM (#1890087)
What a deal this would be in the RLPA...

Did you know that in many countries, this statement would be legal grounds to kill you? Bastard. =(
   14. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: March 09, 2006 at 05:55 AM (#1890108)
What a deal this would be in the RLPA...

Did you know that in many countries, this statement would be legal grounds to kill you? Bastard. =(

Callaspo's having a pedestrian postseason. I'm starting to think he might be unclutch.

He could be on the block...

(yeah right)
   15. Kingalthe1 Posted: March 26, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#1919288)
arizona should not be building for the future
trade Justin upton for some superstar and call up stephen drew. then also trade away that lousy tony clark and bring in some defensivley sound first basemen who has some kind of
offensive presence
   16. MM1f Posted: March 26, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#1919488)
Sure buddy

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