The last day of 2022 brought some good news for outfielder Willie Calhoun.
The New York Yankees took a chance on him on a non-roster deal, with an invitation to spring training.
“The Yankees have agreed to a non-roster deal with OF Willie Calhoun, per source. Calhoun will be in big-league camp,” MLB insider Mark Feinsand had tweeted.
As SI.com’s Max Goodman notes, Calhoun is a left-handed hitter: those are welcomed in the Bronx as long as they can produce.
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) December 31, 2022
Calhoun was once a hot prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers system.
They traded him to the Texas Rangers in the Yu Darvish deal in 2017.
With the Rangers, Calhoun took his first hacks as an MLB player that year.
He hit 21 home runs as a 24-year-old slugger in Texas in 2019.
Injuries then started to derail his career.
He was recently designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A since no one claimed him, but he ultimately opted to enter free agency.
He was looking for a new opportunity, and the Yankees came knocking on his door with one.
He is now 28, but his bat used to be a plus tool and the Bombers might be able to work some of their magic to get some of that back.
It’s a low risk move for them, one that could yield enormous dividends.
Calhoun is excited with the opportunity and is more than motivated to put on the work and be the best possible version of himself.
Will he be able to carve some sort of MLB role with the Yanks?
That will depend on him and the tools that the organization can provide for him.