Former Angels fan favorite Kole Calhoun goes home signing with Diamondbacks

Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

After the 2019 season the Angels decided not to bring back veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun for the 2020 season. The Angels declined their club option making Calhoun a free agent and now he has found a new home.

The Angels did not want to exercise the option because it was to the tune of $14 million dollars. So Kole Calhoun hit the free agent market and received interest from multiple teams for his services. The Angels did not feel that Calhoun was worth that kind of money and they also have the potential of top prospect Jo Adell breaking through into the majors during the 2020 season.

In the end it was the team from Calhoun’s home state that finally offered him a contract which Calhoun accepted.  The Arizona Diamondbacks, who play in Phoenix, which is just 40 miles from where Calhoun grew up in Buckeye, Arizona.  Calhoun would play for Buckeye High School before playing his college baseball at Arizona State which is just 10 miles from Chase Field in Phoenix where the D-Backs call home.

I’m sure Calhoun will tell you if he can’t play for the Angels, the only team he has known in his Major League Baseball career, playing in his native state of Arizona would be the next best thing.  The Diamondbacks and Calhoun agreed to a two-year contract Tuesday (an early Christmas present for Calhoun and his family), for 16 million dollars and a club option for nine million dollars for the 2022 season with a buyout option of $2 million dollars.

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Kole Calhoun will join a Diamondback team that has a hole in right field with only 25-year old Josh Rojas who hit .217 in 138 at-bats in 2019. All-Star Ketel Marte is a fixture in centerfield and David Peralta has been solid in left field for the last three seasons. If Calhoun can beat out Rojas, which seems likely he will be the starting right fielder in 2020 for the Diamondbacks.

This seems like the perfect fit for Calhoun both because of the opportunity to play every day which some teams that were interested in Calhoun were not looking for.  The other major perk is Calhoun playing close to his hometown.

It will be interested to see how Calhoun will do switching to the National League.  Calhoun hit .266 in 410 at-bats against National League teams with 17 homers and 44 RBIs.  Calhoun especially loves to stick it to the Dodgers hitting nine homers with 14 RBIs and a .302 batting average against the Boys in Blue. Calhoun also hit .333 against the Padres (7 for 21) and .345 against the Colorado Rockies.  The only NL West team Calhoun struggled against was the San Francisco Giants as he only hit .133 against them (2 for 15) in his career.

Calhoun overall in his seven-year career has a .249 batting average with 140 homers and 451 RBIs, but has seen his batting average drop greatly over the past two seasons where he hit .208 and .232 dropping his career average from .261 to its current .249.  Calhoun did hit a career-high 33 homers in 2019 and he drove in 74 runs (the second-highest total in his career).

However, what has made Calhoun valuable is his defense in right field as he has been a finalist for the AL Gold Glove three times since 2015, winning the honor once in 2015.  His arm is strong and accurate and he makes the tough plays look routine.  The Diamondbacks have also added long-time San Francisco Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner who signed a five-year deal with Arizona worth $85 million dollars.  The Diamondbacks should be much-improved in 2020, but will not play the Angels except in Spring Training.  The Angels will match-up against the Diamondbacks in 2021, but it is not known if the series will be in Anaheim or Phoenix.

If Angel fans, more importantly Calhoun fans want to see the “Red Baron” play in 2020 they can travel to San Diego in late May to see Arizona play May 26th-28th and then again in June from the 12th to the 14th.  Calhoun andthe Diamondbacks will play in Los Angeles for the first time from June 15th to June 18th and again August 14th to the 16th.  The final time Calhoun will play in Southern California will be in September as the Diamondbacks will play in San Diego from September 7th to the 10th and then in Los Angeles from September 11th to the 13th.

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Good luck Kole and thanks for everything you did for the Angels. You will always have a special place in this Angel fan’s heart.