Three Players the Texas Rangers Need to Trade this Winter

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 30: Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers after scoring on a triple by Jurickson Profar #19 of the Texas Rangers off of starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of game at Safeco Field on May 30, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - MAY 30: Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers after scoring on a triple by Jurickson Profar #19 of the Texas Rangers off of starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of game at Safeco Field on May 30, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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ARLINGTON, TX – JULY 25: Willie Calhoun #5 of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 25, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

1. Willie Calhoun

In no particular order, the first player we’re moving on from the Texas Rangers is Willie Calhoun. The 24-year-old slugger has yet to find a home in the Rangers lineup despite being here for nearly a season and a half. Acquired as the featured prospect that sent for Texas ace, Yu Darvish, to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Calhoun brought with him plenty of expectations when he came to Arlington.

Last season he spent a fairly large chunk of the year in the minor leagues, evidence of his struggles to secure a place in the Rangers lefty-laden lineup. Calhoun impressed mightily in his time with Triple-A Round Rock last season. In 108 games, Calhoun hit .294 and posted a .782 OPS showing the abilities he possesses. When he got time with the big league club though, Calhoun hit just .222 in 35 games and saw his OPS drop to .602 struggling to get on base.

Our very own, Travis Koch featured the dilemma that the Texas Rangers face when dealing with Willie Calhoun just yesterday. So with no spot for Calhoun to go in the lineup, he needs to go from the club. It makes the best sense long-term. Calhoun profiles best as a DH in Major League Baseball with his sub-par defensive ability at nearly every position he’s tried. Texas, however, has a DH locked up with the club for two more seasons in Shin-Soo Choo. While trading the 36-year-old Choo would be the ideal move, his $42 million remaining over the next two years makes that nearly impossible.

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Now moving Willie Calhoun becomes the necessary evil. While he’s still young and clearly talented,  holding on to him as a rotational player for the next couple of seasons is pointless and could be harmful to his growth (see Jurickson Profar for proof). A move to ship out Calhoun almost guaranteed will have to be to an American League club so he can be a DH, but his 5 more seasons of team control make him an attractive option for clubs caught between contending and trying to plan for the long-term.

It’s not ideal trading away a player who has that much team control left, but neither is holding on to him while he plays every few games for a couple of years. He won’t recoup a top-tier pitching prospect but I’d imagine he could bring back a pitcher with rotation potential and a few lottery ticket type prospects.

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