Kole Calhoun has been a Halo throughout his whole career ever since he debuted in 2012. And until last season, Kole had been a fairly productive hitter.
He has always had some power to coincide with a good amount of doubles and even stretched some doubles into triples (he’s had 16 triples in his career). On top of that, he is arguably one of the best players on the team when it comes to his defense. In 2015, he won his only Rawlings Gold Glove and was the first Halo to win one in right field since Tim Salmon won the award in 2011. He’s also a pretty durable player. Between 2015 and 2017, he averaged 157 games in right field.
However, Kole had his worst season of his career last season. He experienced a bit of a drop off in games played (137) due to him getting an oblique injury in June, which could partially can explain his struggles at the plate last season. By May 6, Calhoun was hitting .195, with 33 strikeouts and four walks. His 56.8 percent ground ball rate was at a career high. He also swung at 32.5 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, another career-high. This prompted the Angels to call up Jabari Blash from AAA, who was hot at the time. Calhoun rehabbed in AAA, adjusted his swing, and came back and did slightly better in the second half. Although there was improvement, he didn’t exactly resurrect from the dead. He batted .231 and hit 10 home runs after the All Star break. He still finished with a career low .208 batting average while striking out 133 times out of 491 at bats (a 27.1% strikeout ratio).
This has prompted trade rumors to swirl around Calhoun. The Angels top prospect is Jo Adell, who is an outfielder and could be ready in 2020. Two other notable Angels prospects in the outfield include Brandon Marsh (Angels #3 prospect) and Jordyn Adams (Angels #6 prospect). The Angels could possibly trade Calhoun and get a solid relief pitcher in return since 2019 could be Calhoun’s last season as an Angel. The Halos could possibly pick up his option in 2020 for $14-million, but that seems very unlikely at this point.
So with that being said, should the Angels trade Kole Calhoun?
Here are three reasons the Angels shouldn’t trade him?
- He’s valuable defensively. As we mentioned earlier, Calhoun received a Gold Glove in 2015. He only had 4 errors. had 8 assists, and a .983 fielding percentage last season. He’s not afraid to dive for balls and has made some spectacular catches in the process. And he almost always keeps the ball in front of him to prevent doubles from turning into triples.
- He’s a great guy in the clubhouse. He has intensity, but at the same time he gets along well with the other guys on the team.
- He has some pop. In his last five seasons, he has had 17, 26, 18, 19, and 19 home runs respectively.
Here are three reasons the Angels should trade him?
- He strikes out a ton. In his career he has struck out 700 times out of 2995 at bats (23.5% of the time). He has only walked 297 times in the process.
- He had a .652 OPS last season. Even Albert Pujols had a higher OPS at .700.
- We can’t overlook his career low in batting average last season (.208) and had only 18 doubles (the lowest amount since 2013 when he only had 222 at bats that season).
It’s not a matter of if the Angels should trade Kole Calhoun. It’s a matter of when. Does Billy Eppler trade him now when his value is somewhat low or does he wait until the July 31 trade deadline and hope that Calhoun gets hot, increases his value, and then gets a capable piece in return? Maybe that’s why the Halos haven’t pulled the trigger yet. They might hope that Calhoun can get his average up to the .250s (around his career average) while driving in a decent amount of runs before the Angels make a move.
Featured Image: Kole Calhoun/SI.com Photo