Every indication this offseason has pointed to the Los Angeles Dodgers acquiring a second baseman. Chase Utley remains a free agent, and in November, the club traded Howie Kendrick to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers received second baseman Darnell Sweeney and first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf in return, and for Sweeney it marked a reunion with the franchise that selected him in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft.
For several weeks the Dodgers have been connected to Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but on Tuesday the two sides were said to have reached an impasse in trade talks. Los Angeles is now expected to revisit potential trades for Detroit’s Ian Kinsler or Tampa Bay’s Logan Forsythe.
Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is Willie Calhoun. The 22-year-old was drafted by the Dodgers in the fourth round in 2015. Calhoun spent last season with Double-A Tulsa, joined Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League championship, and concluded the year in the Arizona Fall League.
What the 2017 season holds for the power-swinging second baseman is unclear. However, Calhoun will join the Dodgers this spring in big league camp as a non-roster invite. He was first to break the news on Twitter:
Officially got the big league camp spring training invite! Can't wait to get to work @Dodgers ⚾️
— June Calhoun (@11WillieCalhoun) January 10, 2017
Calhoun batted .254/.318/.469 with 25 doubles, 27 home runs and 88 RBI with the Drillers. He committed 21 errors in 484 chances at second base, good for a .957 fielding percentage.
While Calhoun has quickly ascended the Minor League ranks, his rise has been primarily a result of strong offensive skills. There are questions over Calhoun’s ability to play second base at the Major League level, which coupled with his young age, is preventing the Dodgers from simply handing over the reins.
Those questions, Calhoun said, serve as motivation. He also drew inspiration from Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who faced similar doubts before establishing himself as an All-Star and World Series champion.
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi praised Calhoun for his progress and added the club would reward the young prospect with promotions this season if his performance warranted it.