It can be difficult to admit failure. No one would be shocked if the Texas Rangers finally realized Kole Calhoun just isn’t viable any longer as a starting outfielder in the major leagues.
Calhoun, signed to a one-year, $5 million contract during the off-season, isn’t providing any value to the Rangers right now. In fact, he’s providing negative value, at -0.3 bWAR, from his post in right field. A player who used to routinely beat up on Texas, the 34-year-old just isn’t that player anymore.
The good news? Calhoun’s replacement is already in the organization. His name is Leody Taveras.
The Texas Rangers should replace Kole Calhoun with Leody Taveras
If the Texas Rangers are serious about winning more games this season, particularly after their sluggish start, this move feels like an obvious one to make: absorb the $5 million owed to Calhoun and promote Taveras from AAA Round Rock.
There’s nothing left for Taveras to prove in the minors, just as there’s nothing left for Calhoun to contribute to the big league Rangers, barring some unexpected hot streak (don’t hold your breath). The former is slashing a cool .394/.412/1.079 with the Express, in addition to his typically stellar defense in the outfield.
It finally seems to be coming together for Taveras, once a highly touted Rangers prospect. He was solid in his first big league stint in 2020 before regressing badly last season. With another chance in 2022, Taveras could deliver on the promise that had Texas excited about their center-fielder of the future. Or at the very least, he can’t be much worse than Calhoun, who we’ll say again, is providing below-average big league production.
When he’s right, the youthful Taveras at just 23 years of age, can provide a dynamic presence on the field for the Texas Rangers. Speed, pop, defense, he’s got the makings of a Byron Buxton-lite type of player. And while that might be lofty praise, Taveras is capable of reaching that ceiling, one that is infinitely higher than any ceiling Kole Calhoun may be able to reach, figuratively speaking.
Having a veteran presence in the clubhouse is about the only real thing Calhoun is providing right now. And while that’s valuable, I’ll take the upside of Taveras and find another clubhouse guy to replace Calhoun.