The Los Angeles Dodgers have addressed key needs this offseason by re-signing Rich Hill, and reportedly agreeing to terms with Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner. However, there are additional holes that must be filled prior to the start of Spring Training.
Chief among them is at second base, particularly when considering Chase Utley is a free agent, the next-viable option — Howie Kendrick — was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in November. It’s conceivable Utley could be re-signed, but he presumably would come off the bench.
Thus, the Dodgers front office faces an interesting decision to make in regards to second base, as one of the organization’s top prospects, Willie Calhoun, plays the position. But, Calhoun is widely presumed to be at least one year away from being Major League ready.
As the 22-year-old continues to develop, he recently connected with Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, via Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
“He said you have to act like no one deserves to be on the same field as you,” Calhoun said. “That’s on the offensive side and that’s on the defensive side. He said that’s how he plays and that’s what got him there. He said he told himself that he was great. What he believes in is how he acts on the field. That’s something that really clicked for me.”
General manager Farhan Zaidi recently said that they are keeping an open mind with Calhoun, but noted a premature call-up could be detrimental to Calhoun’s development.
What’s more, there are questions over his ability to play second base. That criticism is something that Calhoun has used as motivation.
Calhoun spent the entirety of the 2016 season with Double-A Tulsa, where he finished with a .957 fielding percentage and committed 21 errors in 484 chances at second base. Offensively, Calhoun put together another productive year at the plate, hitting .254/.318/.469 with 25 doubles, 27 home runs and 88 RBIs.
Los Angeles has been connected with Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who has two years remaining on his current contract, although the most recent reports indicate a deal is not imminent.