ANAHEIM -- The Angels and Alberto Callaspo have agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth close to $9 million, with the club buying out the third baseman's final arbitration season and his first year of free agency, sources told MLB.com on Thursday.
The deal, which is pending a physical, allows the Angels to buy some time as they wait for Kaleb Cowart to man the hot corner.
Cowart, rated the top prospect in the Angels' system and No. 46 overall by MLB.com, is headed into his first season of Double-A. And although the Angels were hoping Cowart would be an everyday player in the Majors by 2014, the much more realistic timeline has the 20-year-old switch-hitter ready by 2015.
The switch-hitting Callaspo, 29, has posted .277/.338/.394 line over the past four years, displaying solid defense at third base and an ability to draw walks at the plate, something rather absent throughout the Angels' lineup.
Callaspo was signed as an amateur free agent by the Angels in 2001, dealt to the D-backs in 2006, then re-acquired from the Royals in July 2010 through a trade that sent Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith to Kansas City. While making $3.15 million this past season, Callaspo batted .252 with a .331 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 56 walks, the second most on the team.
The deal isn't expected to be announced until next week, when Callaspo can obtain a visa to fly to the U.S. from his native Venezuela to take his physical and finalize the contract.
This means that Callaspo will join the rest of baseball's unsigned arbitration-eligible players in formally exchanging figures on Friday. So will his unsigned teammates, Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Kevin Jepsen. None of the three is tabling a long-term deal with the Angels, who avoided arbitration with Jerome Williams via a $2 million deal on Tuesday.
Once Callaspo's deal is formalized, all nine of the Angels' everyday players will be signed through 2014, with the remaining eight -- Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo -- in the books for at least the next three years.