Quote of the day: "He's one of our guys. He's not going anywhere." -- Bob Melvin on Alberto Callaspo, 6th May
Looks like one member of the Diamondbacks had a real "off-day" yesterday, with Alberto Callaspo finding himself in the Fourth Avenue jail after an alleged fight with his wife, rather than flying on a nice charter jet to Houston, with the rest of his Diamondbacks' team-mates. Details remain somewhat sketchy - at least, until TheSmokingGun.com get hold of the police report - but it doesn't seem all that bad, as these things go. Looking at the charges, the criminal damage is actually a bigger crime than the assault (a felony vs. a misdemeanor), but it's still probably going to end his career as a Diamondback.
Due process? I don't think so. Crank the clock back to late August 2001 when, as we headed towards the World Series, backup catcher Mike DiFelice got himself arrested and charged with assaulting two women at a Pittsburgh nightclub and punching a parking attendant. He was dumped by Arizona almost before he made bail. Later that same day, he was suspended by MLB for his part in an August 14th fight against the Pirates. Definitely not his finest 24 hours.
It's certainly wise not to send Callaspo with the team to Houston. About the last thing we need is some snarky Astros' PA technician playing Smack My Bitch Up when Alberto comes to the plate. But it would be an unwelcome distraction, and it's probably best he works out whatever issues result, somewhere else other than on the 25-man roster. Maybe sending him down to Tucson would be the best thing: effectively, it'd be a 100-mile restraining order. But I suspect the penalty will end up being more permanent than that.
If so, it'll be interesting to see whether another team picks him up. DiFelice was persona non grata for the rest of the season, but all was apparently forgiven the following year - he played five more seasons in the majors, for five different teams, and is currently with the Mets' AAA affiliate. His transgression did come almost at the end of the season; we'll see whether anyone risks a bad PR rush and picks up Callaspo. Not sure there'll be much of a market for a backup infielder hitting .215, but he was our Minor-League Player of the Year last season.
Naturally, this will bring back memories of last year, when Grimsleygate derailed the Diamondbacks season, when they were riding high at the top of the division. I don't think this has quite the same ramifications, however. This is very much Callaspo's problem: it's not a "crime against baseball" in the wider sense, and there's no sense that any other team-mates are implicated [unless I'm really missing something!]. It looks like the team will not hang around in taking action, and so I'm optimistic there'll be no long-term effect. After all, I seem to recall that we managed to struggle along after DiFelice was canned in 2001...
There is going to be a major problem trying to replace Callaspo. Down at Triple-A, regular commuter Brian Barden is out with a hip injury, and veteran Augie Ojeda has a groin strain. That leaves us with Danny Richar, who's only batting .256, and Jamie D'Antona who, while he's hitting .319, is more a 1B/3B/C than a middle infielder - and we already have Robbie Hammock for that role. He's also not on the 40-man roster, and we're already at the limit there, so would need to drop someone to get him on board.
Richar doesn't have that problem, so instinct says it will probably be him, though I don't expect him to get much playing time. After all, when was the last time anyone saw Robbie Hammock? It wasn't this month, and he's only started three games all year. But Richar doesn't seem to be the long-term solution to the problem, and it may prove necessary to trade somebody - probably a pitcher - for a credible backup infielder. Maybe we should get Craig Counsell back. :-)
Speaking of AzPhan, if you didn't notice in the diaries, I was eventually forced to ban him, after he ignored a polite request not to spam any more diaries on exactly the same topic. He was given every benefit of the doubt, and every chance, but it eventually became clear that he was not interested in a genuine debate, or answering any questions. I'm sure it'll play into his martyr complex - but, really, when you've been tossed out of every bar in town, you should take a look at yourself, not blame the breweries, because you're probably just a mean drunk.
Anyway, be nice to flush away the traces of his presence as soon as possible, so if you've got a half-decent idea for a diary, this weekend would be a good time to post it. Even if it's about Jordan Sparks. :-) Quintero has already posted one on the Callaspo situation, so please direct your comments on that matter to the diary, rather than this post.