When the Angels traded young pitchers Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith to the Kansas City Royals for Alberto Callaspo last July 22, you could at least understand their thinking.
Maicer Izturis was just coming off the disabled list, where he had spent more than a month with a strained forearm, and none of the team's third-base options was even remotely palatable.
Virtually everything Callaspo can do, some would argue, Izturis does better. Callaspo is a serviceable third baseman. Izturis is a plus defender at third, shortstop and second base. Both players are switch hitters, but only Izturis has speed.
Izturis is a lifetime .275 hitter with a .340 on-base percentage. Callaspo is a .278 hitter with a .327 on-base. It appears that Callaspo's role could be a limited one in 2011. He played nearly every day for the Royals.
"I'm just going to do my job," Callaspo said. "We can do the same things, but I can't think like that. I'm going to be OK whatever happens."
Manager Mike Scioscia points out the subtle differences. Izturis is more athletic and patient, where Callaspo "just seems to have that wand where he can find hits."
"They're multi-dimensional and there are some common denominators, but I don't see them as the same player," Scioscia said.