In for John Hickey …
Well, the less said about this one, the better. A rare clunker after winning 24 of 30 at the Coliseum, and the A’s will quickly turn the page and hand the ball to Bartolo Colon Wednesday.
So, no Jake Peavy. No middle of the order hitter. In the end, unless some other team calls the A’s with an offer Billy Beane can’t refuse, the A’s will likely watch the trade deadline pass without a blockbuster deal to bolster the roster down the stretch.
Guess what? They don’t really have to. Peavy might have been nice insurance in the event of a Colon suspension (seems unlikely, but until Friday comes and goes, hold your breath) or another starter injury. But the A’s have plenty of pitching depth with Brett Anderson looking like he may be just a few weeks away if that and Sonny Gray at the ready in the minors. As for the hitting part, the guys here have the wherewithal, they just have to get it done.
So, Alberto Callaspo for Grant Green. That’s your deadline deal. Not impressed? Hey, admittedly, it’s not an earth-shaker, but Callaspo should help against left-handed pitching. He’s a career .300 hitter against lefties, and he can also spell Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie, with Callaspo filling in at third when needed and Eric Sogard at short.
The only real question mark here is how quickly Callaspo can adjust to playing second base after not playing the position for three years, and actually a bit longer than that. His last extended work there came in 2009 with Kansas City, when he played 146 games at second (and made 17 errors). Can he still turn the double play? Guess we’ll see. But you can bet he’ll be getting a crash refresher course with infield coach Mike Gallego over the next week or so.
He won’t be playing there a ton. Eric Sogard will still man the position against righties, which means the majority of the time, so the defense shouldn’t suffer too much. And considering Callaspo has some pop and is lethal against lefties, he’s definitely an upgrade, even if a minor one, and he gives Oakland a righty pinch-hitter off the bench who isn’t named Nate Freiman.
Shame about Grant Green, of course, but for all of his potential as a future major-league hitter, he just never found a position with Oakland. He may not find one anywhere, although he did show signs that first base may be in his future. The A’s don’t have time to find out, especially since Green is now 25, not exactly a youngster in prospect years.
Beane was very clear he made this deal because this club deserves every chance to win now, and Callaspo provides much needed infield depth. Can’t disagree with that. Adam Rosales is not a good shortstop option, and he has struggled at the plate as well. He’s almost certainly a goner.
The team that has posted a 63-44 record to this point is the one that will have to take it the rest of the way, Callaspo and perhaps a waiver deal at some point down the line excepted. With that in mind, it bears repeating what manager Bob Melvin said before the game.
“I always expect other teams to do something and don’t get too caught up in what we’re trying to do because we’re playing pretty well, we have a good team, and regardless of what happens, we’re going to have a good team,” he said. “Billy’s been through this many times before and he’ll do the right thing.”
Fifty-five games to go and a five-game lead. They should have enough to close it out. The real question is if they have enough to go deep into the playoffs (especially with the Red Sox getting Peavy). Let’s get August and September out of the way first, and then it can be debated.