Calhoun open to making switch from RF to LF
Position change likely if Angels sign Heyward
ANAHEIM -- Could Kole Calhoun switch positions, immediately after winning the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in right field? He would if the Angels sign Jason Heyward, one of very few right fielders -- perhaps the only one -- who's actually better defensively.
The Angels, still in desperate need of an additional corner outfielder, are among the teams that have been linked to Heyward, who probably wouldn't join a team unless he remains at his natural position. If it ends up being the Angels, new general manager Billy Eppler would probably have to ask Calhoun to move to left field.
"If our team is going to get better, and that's the way we're going to get better, I'm all for it," Calhoun said in a phone conversation. "We'll see what happens. I'm not the GM. He's got some tough decisions to make here pretty soon. And we need more than a corner outfielder; we need a few more things, too. We'll see where it goes. But if we're going to make the team better, that's what all of us have to be all about. We're all in. We want to have a great season; we want to get back to the playoffs, we want to go further than we've been in a while. If that's going to help us, then so be it."
The Angels sit roughly $22 million below the luxury-tax threshold, one Eppler said "feels fluid."
Eppler said he feels satisfied with his current rotation depth, so if Angels owner Arte Moreno does consent to exceeding the luxury-tax threshold, it would likely be to sign a premier free-agent corner outfielder, given that the Angels ranked last in the Majors in OPS from their left fielders this past season.
"I think there's scenarios where you can see it being reasonable, and there's scenarios where you can see it not being worth it," Eppler said Thursday. "You keep a mindful approach. Undetermined is probably the best way to put it. Undetermined."
Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton are also high-priced free agents, but Heyward is considered the best, because he's only 26 years old, is a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and has batted .268/.353/.431 while averaging 139 games in his six seasons. But he'll also require the biggest contract, and it remains to be seen whether the Angels are willing to spend so much, given that they owe the Rangers about $48 million over the next two years for Josh Hamilton.
Calhoun is open to a position change, but moving from right to left field isn't as easy as it may appear.
"It's completely different," Calhoun said. "It's completely the opposite. Just the reads, the way you're trained to react to the swing path or the flight path of the ball is literally backwards on the other side of the field. Yeah, it's tough. It takes repetition, it takes time. Obviously, right field is a spot that I've been comfortable with and played the majority of my time. Like I said, I don't know what's going to happen. But if there was a move that needed to be made over to left field, then I'm all for it."