The Los Angeles Angels bought out the remaining arbitration years for Kole Calhoun, agreeing with the right fielder on a three-year contract worth $26 million and a 2020 team option.
The Los Angeles Angels signed right fielder Kole Calhoun to a three-year contract extension Wednesday, buying out his remaining years of arbitration. The deal also includes a team option for 2020 that would cover Calhoun’s first potential year of free agency.
This agreement, worth $26 million over the three guaranteed years, supersedes the one Calhoun and the Angels reached last week on a $6.35 million contract for 2017 to avoid arbitration. The 2020 option is worth $14 million if exercised.
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Calhoun has been a steady force next to Mike Trout for the Angels in recent seasons, appearing in all but eight games over the past two years. A bit of a late bloomer, Calhoun did not make his MLB debut until he was 24 in 2012, and secured a full-time starting role two years later. In his three full seasons, Calhoun has been solid if not spectacular at the plate, delivering an above-average OPS+ of 114. His average season has seen him hit .266 with 20 home runs, 72 RBI and 86 runs scored.
Calhoun’s plate discipline improved considerably in 2016 with a career-high walk rate of 10.0 percent and a career-low strikeout rate of 17.6 percent. He is an above-average defender, and even earned a Gold Glove in 2015. Calhoun doesn’t steal many bases, but he still provides value with his base running.
Entering his age-29 season, there probably isn’t much room left for Calhoun to grow. He doesn’t possess any star-level tools, but he is reliable and consistent — Calhoun’s fWAR totals for the past three seasons are 3.7, 3.8 and 4.0. There is definite value present, and the Angels recognized that with this extension. Calhoun is a high-floor, low-ceiling player who can be a plug-and-play option in the two-spot of the Angels lineup for the next three or four seasons.
While the Angels would have maintained control of Calhoun for the next three seasons without this extension, there is now budgetable certainty for many key components of the Angels lineup, with Calhoun, Trout, Albert Pujols, Andrelton Simmons and C.J. Cron all under team control through 2020.