The Angels traded pitchers Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday in exchange for third baseman Alberto Callaspo, a former Angels farmhand. The teams have talked about the trade for days, discussions first reported by ESPNLosAngeles.com. Angels general manager Tony Reagins said the names didn't change, but O'Sullivan's six strong innings at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday appear to have convinced the Royals to take the Angels' deal.
"That's what a couple of the guys here said, 'Hey man, you went out and went six innings and gave up two hits against the Yankees and all of the sudden the phone's ringing,'" O'Sullivan said. "But who knows?"
Callaspo, 27, is batting .275 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs. He has a modest .308 on-base percentage, but is a switch-hitter who plays better defense than any of the Angels' current third basemen and will be under the Angels' control for three more seasons beyond 2010.
The move casts doubt on the future in Anaheim of once-bright prospect Brandon Wood, 25, who has been relegated to the bench with a .168 batting average. It's entirely possible the Angels will now trade Wood, who is out of options. With the addition of Callaspo, they have four players on their 25-man roster capable of playing third base.
Before Thursday's trade was announced, Wood had addressed the possibility of being traded by the July 31 no-waivers deadline. Wood's name popped up in trade talks over each of the last several years when he was at Triple-A.
"There could have been plenty of teams I could have been playing every day with throughout those years, but I want to play here," Wood said.
O'Sullivan, 22, has spent most of the season at Triple-A Salt Lake, where he had a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts. Smith, a left-hander, pitched at all three levels in the Angels' system this year. He was 2-4 with a 5.60 ERA at Triple-A.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated that Callaspo will likely play third base on a nearly every-day basis, allowing the Angels to use Maicer Izturis in a super-utility role. Izturis is a good defender at third, second and shortstop.
"I think over the long haul, it's going to have an impact on us," Scioscia said of getting Callaspo. "There's no doubting a guy that can put the ball in play and hit like Alberto can. We'll know over the next couple months the kind of impact it'll have. But Alberto is a good offensive player."
Thursday's trade is far from the impact deal many people have been saying the Angels needed since losing Morales to a broken left ankle May 29, but the team doesn't have the high-level prospects to swing such a trade. Asked if they did, Reagins, who said he'll remain active up to the trade deadline, smiled and said, "We'll see."
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.