We’ve yet to hear much of anything this winter regarding Kole Calhoun — a reflection both of the primacy of starting pitching on the market and the devaluation of the long ball around the league. The veteran corner outfielder has waited his turn as teams chase higher-priority targets.
Now, it seems some attention is beginning to turn to Calhoun and other possible targets. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Blue Jays, Reds, Brewers, and Marlins all have some level of interest in the 32-year-old.
Calhoun was paid a $1MM buyout by the Angels when his long-time team decided not to pick up his $14MM option. He popped 33 home runs in 2019 and has long been respected as a hard-nosed grinder with a quality glove, but his nice season wasn’t enough to warrant that level of pay even on a one-year deal.
While Calhoun has at times produced well-above-average offensive numbers, his context-adjusted output wasn’t exceptionally productive in 2019. Over 552 plate appearances, he maintained a .232/.325/.467 batting line, good for a 108 wRC+. That was an improvement on his average-ish 2017 and awful 2018 showings with the bat, but hardly an otherworldly effort. Calhoun walked at a career-best 11.1% rate but also went down on strikes at a personal-worst 25.6% clip.
The initial list of potential pursuers doesn’t seem to portend a bidding war. The Fish are biting this year, but don’t seem likely to go wild. They’re also looking at quite a few other options, as are the Reds. The Blue Jays and Brewers both make sense but don’t seem likely to spend past their internal valuations for a player such as Calhoun. Of course, it’s certainly possible that other clubs are in the picture or could join it depending upon outcomes with other segments of the market.