Having re-signed Rich Hill and reportedly agreed to terms with Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ next need is at second base. Chase Utley became a free agent once the offseason began, and Howie Kendrick was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.
While speaking at the General Manager meetings in November, Farhan Zaidi said the Dodgers would consider Kiké Hernandez, Micah Johnson and Chris Taylor for second base. In the time since, the club has been connected to trade speculation involving multiple external options.
At present time it appears the Dodgers’ No. 1 option is Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins.
Dozier is under contract for two more seasons, which may be ample time for Willie Calhoun to mature into a role. While the 22-year-old impressed with Double-A Tulsa, Zaidi said the Dodgers aren’t yet certain what 2017 will entail for Calhoun, according to Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:
“You never want to rule out a guy accelerating the timetable on you. But Willie – we’re excited about the progress he’s made. There’s still some things he needs to work on. So we’ll see how he looks in big-league camp. We’re not locking him in anywhere next season. Like all our guys, he’ll be able to earn that opportunity if his performance warrants.”
The Dodgers selected Calhoun in the fourth round of the 2015 Draft. He was previously taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 17th round of the 2013 Draft, but elected to attend college in Arizona.
Calhoun batted .316/.390/.519 with 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 48 RBI during time spent with Rookie-level Ogden, Low-A Great Lakes and High-A Rancho Cucamonga during his first professional season.
Over 132 games with the Drillers, Calhoun hit .254/.318/.469 with 25 doubles, 27 home runs and 88 RBI. He joined Triple-A Oklahoma City for the Pacific Coast League championship, though only logged one at-bat.
Calhoun was among the several prospects the Dodgers sent to the Arizona Fall League, and he was named MVP of the Fall Stars Game. For as much as Calhoun produces at the plate, there are defensive concerns.
It’s a challenge Calhoun has embraced and worked to prove incorrect.