The Diamondbacks announced that outfielder Kole Calhoun has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list. In corresponding moves, righty Taylor Widener was optioned to Triple-A and outfielder Nick Heath was designated for assignment. As noted by The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan, Widener’s demotion is likely just an on-paper move due to the All-Star break, and he’ll be back in Arizona’s rotation when the second half begins.
Calhoun underwent hamstring surgery in late April, which followed another surgery to fix a torn meniscus during Spring Training. After clocking only 51 plate appearances in between his two injury absences, Calhoun will now return for what could potentially be his last few weeks in an Arizona uniform.
If Calhoun can get hot at the plate and stay healthy, he’d certainly look like a decent trade chip for a D’Backs team that is open to selling. The 33-year-old isn’t a pure rental player, as there is a $9MM club option on his services for the 2022 season that carries a $2MM buyout. Owed an $8MM salary for 2021, Calhoun would have roughly $2.7MM remaining of that total if he was dealt on July 30, so between that and the $2MM buyout, it isn’t an unreasonable price for teams looking for a veteran outfield bat. (The D’Backs could also include money in a trade.)
Since joining the Diamondbacks on a two-year, $16MM free agent deal in December 2019, Calhoun has hit .239/.337/.517 with 18 home runs over 279 PA. Generally an above-average hitter over his 10 big league seasons with the Angels and D’Backs, the left-handed hitting Calhoun has pretty even splits against both right-handed and left-handed pitching. In addition, he has played solid-to-strong defense as a right fielder, highlighted by a Gold Glove back in 2015.
This is the second time Heath has been designated for assignment this season, and when the Royals DFA’ed the outfielder back in April, the D’Backs stepped in to arrange a trade that brought Heath to the desert. Originally a 16th-round pick for Kansas City in the 2016 draft, Heath has appeared in 20 games for the Diamondbacks, with just a .402 OPS over 39 plate appearances.