Report: Braves acquire infielder Alberto Callaspo
It seems as if the Atlanta Braves have signed infielder Alberto Callaspo.
The Braves have not yet announced any deal, but as is usually the case during Major League Baseball's winter meetings, multiple sources are on top of any action happening.
SiriusXM MLB Network Radio confirmed with Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that the deal was done, pending a physical.
Fredi Gonzalez confirmed to us this is done, pending physical RT @JimBowden_ESPN: Braves are close to signing Alberto Callaspo— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 9, 2014
Later, MLB on FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal announced the financials of the deal, a one-year stint with performance incentives.
Source: Callaspo 1 yr, $3M with #Braves plus $1M in performance incentives.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 10, 2014
Why wait until the doctors sign off and the team makes an announcement? It's easy to discuss how the addition of Callaspo will impact the Braves.
Since Callaspo made most of his starts at second base last year, this is likely where the Braves will look at him first. Six different Braves started games at second base last season. Phil Gosselin, who held the job at season's end, is still on the roster and will probably compete with Callaspo during spring training.
But Callapso can play multiple positions.
He's actually played most of his career (520 games) at third base. Second base was his next-most-frequently-played spot at 286 games; followed by spot starts at shortstop (25), first base (19), right field (7) and left field (5).
If Callaspo does not win the second base job, he'll surely fit in as an uber-utility guy.
The 31-year-old Callaspo did not hit for a high average last season. The .223 showing was his worst as an every-day player. But in the three years prior, Callaspo batted .266, and he's finished each season anywhere from .252 (2012) to .300 (2009) as a starter.
While his batting average may not soar above Gosselin's, Callaspo does bring a much better strikeout rate to the Braves. Gosselin struck out 27 times in 136 plate appearances (19.9 percent) where Callaspo fanned less frequently at 50 strike outs in 451 plate appearances (11.1 percent).
For a Braves team that ranked 27th in the league last year with 1,369 strikeouts, reducing swings and misses is a big positive.
Because Callaspo signed just a one-year deal, and since it was an inexpensive purchase, the Braves have effectively added a low-cost, stopgap at second base while the team waits for its top prospect Jose Peraza to land in Atlanta.