The Angels announced the signing of outfielder Willie Calhoun to a non-roster contract. He’ll get an invitation to big league Spring Training.
Calhoun, now 29, signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last winter. He ended up getting selected to the big league roster and received semi-regular playing time in the first half. He was put into 44 games and took 149 trips to the plate. He only struck out in 13.4% of those but his overall line of .239/.309/.403 amounted to a wRC+ of 96.
That’s only a bit below league average overall but Calhoun is generally considered a subpar defender in the outfield and was often in the designated hitter slot for the Yanks. A DH is naturally expected to produce above-average offense, so Calhoun was designated for assignment and outrighted in July. He elected free agency and didn’t catch on anywhere else until today.
Prior to 2023, Calhoun had been a top 100 prospect as a minor leaguer due to his bat. Since reaching the majors, he has continued to be tough to strike out but he hasn’t tapped into enough power or got on base much. He now has 1,085 MLB plate appearances, striking out in just 15% of them, but he’s also only walked at a 7.4% clip and hit 37 home runs in that time. His .240/.300/.404 batting line translated to an 84 wRC+.
The Angels currently project to have an outfield mix that consists of Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell. Both Trout and Ward have battled injuries in the past few years while Moniak still has just 151 games of MLB experience. Adell only has 178 games of his own and has struggled badly with strikeouts. The club also has a DH vacancy with Shohei Ohtani having reached free agency.
Calhoun will give the club some extra non-roster depth and try to force his way into that mix. If he is able to get himself a roster spot, he can be retained for an extra season via arbitration but he is out of options.