The SF Giants have had success with reclamation projects in the past. On Thursday, they acquired potentially the next project, who was once one of the top prospects in baseball.
SF Giants acquire former top outfield prospect in trade with the Rangers
The Giants shipped outfielder Steven Duggar to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Willie Calhoun. San Francisco had a decision looming on Duggar as he reached the maximum number of days (20) that he could be on a rehab assignment.
They had a choice to trade him, place him on waivers, or add him back to the 40-man roster. They chose the first option.
Calhoun had been on the Rangers' 40-man roster until he was designated for assignment earlier in the month. He went unclaimed and accepted an assignment to Triple-A.
This means that Calhoun is coming over to the Giants, but not as a player on the 40-man roster yet. Calhoun was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. Despite going to college in Arizona, he is a local product as he went to Benicia High School in Benicia, California.
The Dodgers shipped him along with two other prospects at the 2017 trade deadline to acquire star pitcher Yu Darvish from the Rangers. Calhoun was very much the focal point of that trade from the Rangers' perspective.
That trade did not work out for Texas as Calhoun slashed .241/.300/.407 (86 OPS+) with 32 home runs, 103 RBI, and 98 runs over the next six seasons in a Rangers uniform. The good news is that this came with a 7.0 percent walk rate against a 15.2 percent strikeout rate, so he still managed to consistently make contact.
The left-handed bat posted an average exit velocity of 89.5 MPH and a ground ball rate of 39.7 percent against major league pitching with both marks being pretty healthy from a statcast perspective.
The Giants are going to have a tough time finding a position for the former top prospect. Calhoun came up as a second baseman as a pro and played around the infield earlier in his career. However, he has been limited to just left field since 2020.
For a front office that values defensive versatility, Calhoun does not check that box. However, he offers considerable upside with the bat and the Giants will try to help him find a more consistent swing. If he can, this is a trade that has the potential to pay dividends down the road.