Thursday was a difficult day for Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun. He was told by Texas Manager Chris Woodward, that he would start the year in Nashville. The means he will play in AAA for the third straight season.
Woodward admitted is was a tough decision and that Calhoun was upset.“He was not happy obviously, and rightfully so. This will be a learning moment for him to see how mature he can handle the situation. It’s not an easy one. He has done everything we’ve asked. He deserved the right to be on the team. But obviously, with our roster the way it is, and the decisions we had to make, at this moment, it just didn’t fit.” Woodward told MLB’s T.R. Sullivan.
Calhoun’s situation comes on the heals of a major transition in his life. He has been known for his bat since he headlined the deal for Yu Darvish in 2017. But his weight has been an issue. He had also developed some bad habits that left him without a clear position to play. After the 2018 season Jon Daniels sat down with Calhoun and had the proverbial, “Come to Jesus” talk. It was then up to Calhoun on how he would respond.
This winter Calhoun changed his habits drastically. He is a known gamer and had a habit of staying up all night to play video games. This usually caused late night snacks that are never good. (I can confirm this personally) But Willie cut out late night gaming and started eating food prepared by the Rangers dietician.
The results were evident. He came into camp 24 pounds lighter and in the best shape of pro baseball career. The only issue the Rangers had was where to get him regular at bats. Calhoun is a left handed hitting outfielder in an already left handed heavy lineup. Unless there was an injury or trade of Shin-Shoo Choo, he was blocked. Add on to that the fantastic spring of Hunter Pence. Pence had the best spring of any Ranger and is a right handed hitting outfielder/DH. The writing was on the wall and yesterday was the confirmation.
The Calhoun conundrum is reminiscent of Jurickson Profar. A top prospect who was blocked on the major league team and was sent to AAA for regular at bats. Profar also was upset. He was once the top prospect in all of baseball and an injury derailed his major league service time. Once healthy, he was blocked by Roughned Odor and Elvis Andrus. He moved around the field trying to get into the major league lineup. But he struggled. That is until 2018. With the injury of Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, Profar became a regular in the big league lineup. He made the most of it. After the 2018 season and Beltre retirement, he was penciled into the lineup as the new third baseman. But Daniels capitalized on his new found value and traded him to the A’s in three team deal. The deal that netted the Rangers Brock Burke, Eli White, Kyle Bird and money.
- So is a trade in Calhoun’s future?
- Does Willie deserve to be mad?
- What should he do?
ANSWER 1. I don’t see there being any real value for Calhoun at the moment. He most likely will not be traded anytime soon.
ANSWER 2. It is very understandable that he is mad and upset. He has does everything asked of him and he still hasn’t been rewarded for his work.
ANSWER 3. Calhoun needs to be mature about this. This has nothing to do with his lackluster spring. This has to do with getting regular at bats while the major league team works out the log jam. Injury, bad play or a trade could open up the path Calhoun has been waiting for. But he cannot go to Nashville and pout. He needs to go and rake. Make J.D. and Woody rethink things.
For me personally, I hope he does. He is a real dude when it comes to hitting. Things are not always given to you. Even hard work and doing everything asked of you, cannot always pay off immediately. So be patient Willie. Your time is coming. (I hope)
The Rangers Nation Podcast also had special guests C.J. Nitkowski. He stayed 30 minutes and talked about eating tadpoles, crickets and life in Asia. He also talked about the Rangers and the upcoming season. TAKE A LISTEN
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