Kole Calhoun had spent his entire pro career in the Angels’ organization until the club bought him out for $1MM in lieu of a $14MM team option last November. The two sides had some discussions about a reunion over the offseason, reports Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic, but talks didn’t get particularly far.
“(There was) never really a moment I thought I’d be back,” Calhoun told Ardaya. Instead, the corner outfielder inked a two-year, $16MM contract (with a 2022 club option) to join his hometown Diamondbacks in December.
As Calhoun himself points out, it’s not particularly surprising the Angels didn’t ardently pursue a reunion. That’s not a knock on Calhoun, who was solid again in 2019. He hit .232/.325/.467 (108 wRC+) with his typical strong right field defense. All told, he was worth upwards of two fWAR in five of his six full seasons in Anaheim.
Rather, the organization’s reluctance merely reflects its comfort with the current outfield mix. Justin Upton was always certain to get an opportunity for a bounce-back season in left field. Brian Goodwin, meanwhile, looks to have established himself as a solid placeholder in right until top prospect Jo Adell reaches the majors, which will almost certainly be at some point in 2020. David Fletcher, having been displaced as the everyday third baseman by Anthony Rendon, is in line for some work in the outfield as a utility option, as well, Ardaya notes.
With the Angels shelling out $245MM for Rendon and making multiple additions to the starting rotation this offseason, it never seemed likely they would top the market to bring back Calhoun. There’s no animosity, as Calhoun called his time in Anaheim “a heck of a ride,” before telling Ardaya he’s turning his attention to Arizona, where he figures to be the Snakes’ top option in right field.