Beane: 'We desperately needed to pick up another infielder'
Alberto Callaspo is batting .253 with five home runs and 36 RBI in 85 games. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- Citing a desire to win now rather than wait for the future, A's general manager Billy Beane traded former first-round draft pick Grant Green to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night for veteran infielder Alberto Callaspo.
And if it sounds like Beane was strengthening a division rival by giving up on the No. 13 overall pick of the 2009 first-year player draft in Green and handing him over for what amounts to a utility player, Beane does not see it that way, either.
"It's not so much a matter of (Green) not working out, it's just a matter of addressing a need for a first-place team and recognizing and trying to grasp the present," Beane said. "I think we're in a pretty unique position. I think we need to do everything we can to help this club out.
"We did think highly of Grant, and the price was steep. But then again, it was a seller's market for this position. There just weren't very many guys out there and we needed to get someone."
Callaspo is expected in Oakland Wednesday morning in time for the A's series finale against Toronto. He was removed from the lineup in the middle of the Angels' game at Texas and Green, who went to high school in Anaheim before playing at USC, was earlier scratched from Triple-A Sacramento's lineup.
The switch-hitting Callaspo, 30, was batting .252 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 36 RBI in 86 games for the Angels. Batting .262 against lefties and .149 against right-handers, he will mostly platoon at second base with the left handed-hitting Eric Sogard.
"We needed some infield help, particularly someone who could swing it from the right side," Beane said. "It's also, we're pretty thin infield-wise, when you start thinking about the fact that we've played Josh (Donaldson) almost every inning of every game (at third base). He can give Josh a breather."
Callaspo, though, has only played 217 of his 772 career games at second base, and none since 2010, when he made 12 appearances there, one for the Angels and 11 with Kansas City. He has also played 32 games at shortstop and 14 games in the outfield, though he has primarily been a third baseman with the Angels.
Beane said the trade talks with the Angels began Monday morning and said there was nothing strange about dealing with a team from the American League West, which the A's led by six games entering Tuesday.
"It was pleasant dealing with Jerry (Dipoto, the Angels' G.M.)," Beane said.
Callaspo, a 5-feet-9, 225-pound native of Venezuela, is due the remainder of his $4.1 salary from this season, about $1.4 million, and $4.875 million for 2014. In his eighth big league season, Callaspo has 42 career homers and 293 RBI with a .273 batting average and .334 on-base percentage.
Green struggled in his lone call-up with the A's. Promoted on July 8, he was 0-for-15 with six strikeouts and three errors in five games starting at second base against left-handed starters before being sent back to Sacramento on July 23.
Linked to many Jake Peavy trade rumors, Beane would not address how close or even if the A's were involved for the high-priced starter. Asked if the A's were still in talks on any other deals, Beane said, "Not currently."
Then could the A's be involved in something before Wednesday's 1 p.m. PT non-waiver trade deadline?
"Sometimes things happen quickly," Beane said. "Probably not, You never know. You get calls sometimes, on the last day or in the morning and things can happen quickly. But at this point, I don't see anything right now."