Would a Kole Calhoun Extension be Wise?


A fan favorite and potential super-two player coming off a 3.6 WAR and 122 OPS+ season may seem seem like an obvious choice for a contract extension. Kole Calhoun is a different case however. He is entering his age 27 season and won’t be eligible for free agency until he’s 32. At that point it could be expected that he will be in decline and not warrant controlling for any longer. 

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Drafted in the 8th round of the 2010 draft and not posing the size of top prospects, Calhoun never captured the hearts of scouts. He is a bit of a late bloomer having not exceeded his rookie status until he was nearly 26, but in his short MLB career, has proven that he is one of the best outfielders in the game. Last year he proved how valuable he was by being plugged into the leadoff role from day one and providing good pop with 17 HR and 58 RBI to go along with his 90 Runs. He is known for a strong arm in right field and despite his 5′ 10″ shortcoming, he plays a decent first base when needed.

In his pre-arb years Calhoun is a decided bargain. In his first few arbitration years he likely still will be. But, once he hits age 30 he will come much closer to being paid what he’s actually worth. Especially if he reaches super two status. At age 32, when he reaches free agency, he will likely be too old to find a huge, long term contract. With being so far from free agency and already in his prime, he would certainly be very receptive to any kind of guaranteed multi-year contract.

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On the Angels side they have little reason to do too much with a player they already control for five more years and completely through all of his prime seasons. They may simply want to buy out his arbitration years so as to have salary assurance and perhaps a slight discount for taking on the risk. More years of control at a known cost may also add trade value if the time ever arises. Or they may wish to put an option year or two on and thereby have control until Calhoun is 33 or 34. Extra years of control at a known cost may also add trade value if the time ever arises. With some buyout money on those options and something around $30 million guaranteed before he reaches free agency, he would have to seriously consider such an offer.

This offseason is unlikely to be when Calhoun receives any kind of offer from the Angels front office. A year from now we’ll know if he’s super two eligible and have an even clearer picture of what kind of player he is. Due to his age the Angels have the clear upper hand on any kind of contract offer since they simply don’t need to give him any guarantee and can go through arbitration as usual. For us Angels fans Kole Calhoun has become a fan favorite, a homegrown kid who exceeded expectations and makes up a terrific outfield shared with Mike Trout and we’d love to see him here for the longterm. Extension or not, we can be thankful that we will see our redheaded spark patrolling the Big A outfield alongside Mike Trout until at least 2020.

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