That's a lot of expectations for a 20-year old minor leaguer who hasn't played a game above single-A so far. And yet, almost everyone seems to be focused on Cowart while expressing mild to enthusiastic displeasure with the pending Callaspo deal. At least, that's the case if we are to believe the following tweets.
Two years for Callaspo.A little surprising... oh wait, no it isn't because Cowart will hopefully be ready in two years.
— Garrett Wilson (@MonkeyWithAHalo) January 18, 2013
2 yr extension for Callaspo. Stop gap for Cowart. #Angels
— Luke Johnson (@Luke_Johnson9) January 18, 2013
@josh_charon27 alberto proving the mediocre can get paid! especially when 2 guys combine to make 50 mil
— Tom Robinson (@coachtom966) January 18, 2013
Soo 2 years till Kaleb Cowart? RT @halosdaily Angels Extend Alberto Callaspo halosdaily.com/angels-extend-…
— Erick Flores (@made_of_twain) January 18, 2013
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RT: @mlbtraderumors: Angels Pursuing Two-Year Deal With Alberto Callaspo twitter.com/Reaginsnomics/…
— Sean Collins (@Reaginsnomics) January 18, 2013
2 more years of Alberto Callaspo with the #angels shows that the 3B FA market is a huge ghost town. *tumbleweed*
— Anti Glib (@AntiGlib) January 18, 2013
How The Los Angeles Angels Re-signing Of Alberto Callaspo Helps Kaleb Cowart: The Los Angeles Angel... bit.ly/1066vP7 #MLB #Angels
— L.A. Angels Baseball (@LAAngelsBB) January 18, 2013
While this is just a small pool of tweets that I pulled together on the fly, it seems that Angels fans are not too happy with Alberto Callaspo as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. Which is too bad because Alberto Callaspo is actually a lot better than these tweets would suggest.
As I wrote back in October for a 2012 "look back" piece, Callaspo continued to offer quietly solid consistency last year:
"[Callaspo] ]struck-out less than any other player on the Angels this season while walking more than anyone not named Mike Trout. He also posted a 3.2 WAR (according the Baseball-Reference), good for fifth on the squad. In addition, Callaspo continued to be difficult to strikeout while making excellent contact. In fact, he topped all third basemen in the league with a contact rate over 90% on all pitches swung at while only striking out 59 times (both stats good for 10th overall amongst all hitters)."
Now here's a list of some players who Alberto Callaspo had a better 2012 WAR than according to Fangraphs:
It gets better! Here is a list of players with a worse combined WAR over the last two years than Alberto Callaspo:
Some other things about Alberto Callaspo? Only nine active players have a lower strikeout rate than Alberto Callaspo over the past two years. According to Fangraphs fielding metric, Callaspo comes in as the third best fielding third baseman in the entire league for the last two years.
If this hasn't brought you around to love Alberto Callaspo just a little bit more, then maybe this will: he's cheap. If the rumors of a pending Callaspo deal are true, he will be making just under $4.5 million a year for the Angels until he becomes a free agent in 2015. According to this Fangraphs article from 2009, the going market rate for a win is $4.5 million in 2008. We can assume that has gone up in the past four years. Considering Callaspo has put up a 6.4 WAR (according to Fangraphs) over the past two years, then Callaspo probably should stop being called a mediocre stop-gap right about… now.
Instead, I would like to start a movement declaring Callaspo as the type of affordable, consistent everyday player that is perfect for filling out a roster around high-priced megastars. If Callaspo continues to play at the consistency he has over the majority of his career, then Angels fans should be happy with Jerry Dipoto's choice for your 2013 third baseman and for good reason.