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Monday, May 02, 2022

Willie Calhoun wants Texas Rangers to trade him, seeks ‘change of scenery’

Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun, a once highly regarded prospect, has asked to be traded after being demoted to the minors.

Calhoun publicly acknowledged his trade request Sunday in an interview with The Athletic, saying “I don’t know if I’ll play another game in a Rangers uniform, and I let them know that.”

Calhoun was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock after Sunday’s victory over the Atlanta Braves as part of the Rangers’ effort to trim their roster to 26 players.

Rangers general manager Chris Young told The Athletic that the organization is “looking to get Willie going,” but Calhoun said he sees the demotion as an opportunity to “put myself in a position to get traded. I do want to be traded.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2022 at 11:13 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers, willie calhoun

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 02, 2022 at 12:09 PM (#6074765)
I do want to be traded.

Slow corner outfielders who can neither hit nor field are much more likely to wind up released.
   2. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 02, 2022 at 12:29 PM (#6074767)
I wonder what these guys are thinking sometimes. Does he think that Texas hasn't given him a fair shot? 947 PA and a 86 OPS+ indicates that he was given ample opportunity. More than fair. He's the classic AAAA hitter. Rakes in AAA, sucks in the majors.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 02, 2022 at 12:50 PM (#6074771)
I think he's been jerked around a bit, but he certainly hasn't forced their hand at all, and he'd probably have more opportunities if he wasn't such a poor defender.
   4. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: May 02, 2022 at 12:58 PM (#6074772)
The interesting part is
Calhoun also mentioned his disagreement with the "hitting philosophies" of the Rangers' staff, identifying himself as a line-drive hitter who "can't hit popup home runs. I don't have that leverage."

Rangers manager Chris Woodward told The Athletic that he thinks Calhoun's swing recently has "gone a little bit backwards" and that the team has "asked him to work a little bit more vertical with his swing,"


Everyone has been bemoaning the environment of the last few years in which almost every hitter tries to trade contact for homers. Given the deadening of the ball this year, Calhoun may well be right that such an approach doesn't make sense for him now.

It's probably true that his overall skill set (not much speed or power) is just not good enough to make it as a hitter, but he does have decent contact skills (15% K percentage, versus 23% for the league), and it can also be true he would have a better shot in an organization that wasn't trying to turn him into a "launch angle" guy.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 02, 2022 at 01:03 PM (#6074774)
It's probably true that his overall skill set (not much speed or power) is just not good enough to make it as a hitter, but he does have decent contact skills (15% K percentage, versus 23% for the league), and it can also be true he would have a better shot in an organization that wasn't trying to turn him into a "launch angle" guy.

When you're a -10-15 defender in LF, you just don't have the luxury of not hitting for power. He'd have to hit like Tony Gwynn to be above average.
   6. BDC Posted: May 02, 2022 at 01:12 PM (#6074776)
Yes – I have always been a Willie Calhoun fan … well, I guess since I knew of his existence. So this is a disappointment. But 5+ years of "If only he could improve to half-again as good as he is right now, he could be OK" is an ample opportunity.
   7. BDC Posted: May 02, 2022 at 01:22 PM (#6074778)
I notice that Calhoun is batting .259 career as a pinch-hitter against .241 overall. Left-handed contact hitter, seems comfortable in the role: BITD, he might have some future as a mostly-pinch hitter. But that job description no longer exists.
   8. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 02, 2022 at 01:47 PM (#6074784)
Lol at sub-replacement level player asking to be traded.
   9. The Duke Posted: May 02, 2022 at 01:51 PM (#6074786)
We live in a country where everyone can quit and find a new employer. He should just send his resume to the other 29 teams and see if he can find a new place to work.
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 02, 2022 at 03:09 PM (#6074798)
We live in a country where everyone can quit and find a new employer. He should just send his resume to the other 29 teams and see if he can find a new place to work.

Sometimes I can't tell whether you're joking or not. Calhoun isn't even arb eligible yet, and doesn't become a free agent until 2025, according to Baseball-Reference. He can quit and find a new employer, but not in professional baseball.
   11. The Honorable Ardo Posted: May 02, 2022 at 03:48 PM (#6074810)
I just realized the Rangers employ both Willie Calhoun and Kole Calhoun. Maybe the locker room is only big enough for one Calhoun?
   12. BDC Posted: May 02, 2022 at 03:56 PM (#6074813)
Kole Calhoun has hit much worse than Willie so far this year and has even less of a future in baseball. Just as an intra-Calhoun issue, I can see Willie being aggrieved at being the one cut from the team :(
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 02, 2022 at 03:59 PM (#6074815)
Kole Calhoun has hit much worse than Willie so far this year and has even less of a future in baseball. Just as an intra-Calhoun issue, I can see Willie being aggrieved at being the one cut from the team :(

Kole has at least been an above average major leaguer for multiple seasons, as recently as 2020. Willie has been metronomically below replacement level.
   14. BDC Posted: May 02, 2022 at 04:27 PM (#6074824)
Sure, I am just snarking a bit. With Kole Calhoun, though, having been a good ballplayer at age 28 does not mean much to one's prospects at age 34 …
   15. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2022 at 04:55 PM (#6074839)
Kole is also making $5.2 M this year, nearly $50 M in his career. Nice work if you can get it. For 2018-21, 2.9 WAR, -2.5 WAA so a classic 1 WAR bench guy.
   16. Jay Seaver Posted: May 02, 2022 at 05:27 PM (#6074846)
I wonder what these guys are thinking sometimes. Does he think that Texas hasn't given him a fair shot?


I don't know that he's saying that, even when you consider the except in #4. He's saying that it's probably not going to work out with the Rangers and he'd like the chance to see if things improve in another organization. He may be wrong about this, but if he's not, time is not on his side, and cooling his heels at triple-A, passing through waivers, and waiting for someone to sign him if he's released is time he probably figures he can't afford to lose.

What's interesting to me is that he feels comfortable talking about this, as opposed to worrying that he'll be branded a malcontent, a pariah, or "disloyal". Maybe his teammates are going to be saying those things about him behind closed doors this week, but if they're not, and the press isn't framing it that way, it's a pretty substantial shift in the sport's culture.
   17. The Duke Posted: May 03, 2022 at 01:51 PM (#6074974)
10. I'm joking - MLBPA is doing almost nothing to get its players more freedom. More freedom would provide a a more even skew of salaries. The argument used to be that teams didn't want to have a new 25 man roster each year because it would alienate fans but most GMs turn teams over so fast now it's not really a valid argument for indentured servitude. Tying players to teams is simply a profits issue.

I actually think the sentiment that teams hurt their fanbase with high turnover is true but there are better ways to solve that issue like rights of first refusal etc.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 03, 2022 at 03:25 PM (#6074981)
10. I'm joking - MLBPA is doing almost nothing to get its players more freedom. More freedom would provide a a more even skew of salaries.

You sure about that? In most entertainment industries salaries tilt even more towards the stars than MLB does. In a total free market fungible relievers and bench bodies might well be making $75K a year.
   19. John Reynard Posted: May 04, 2022 at 05:47 AM (#6075126)
Willie Calhoun's problem is that since 2019 he hasn't been getting enough barrels to make his profile work.

I mean, he has some actual useful stuff going on if you look at Baseball Savant and compare him to the league. He doesn't strike out much (top 7% in MLB). He does walk a lot (top 9% in MLB). His swing-and-miss rate is top 1%. His out of zone chase rate is best 2%. He even has good avg exit velocity and such. Barrels he's bottom 12% in MLB in 2022 and that shows up in xSLG.

I have to think with universal DH, there is some team that would be worth giving him 300 PA of "OK, do what you think works for you" and see what you get. I don't know that any of them will trade a genuinely useful player for him. But, I'm not sure Texas is looking for that in return anymore.

I think he has every right to ask for a trade despite being relatively unestablished (his 2019 half season was really good and he's been mostly unlucky injured in 2020 and 2021, swollen-up-face HBP and broken wrist or hand, I forget). Texas also has a legal right to bury him if they want for the rest of 2022. But, that would be foolish, especially since they're not even a real contender, even after dumping hundreds of millions into the offense.

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