The Los Angeles Dodgers have traded a slew of prospects over the years. Some of those trades have really come back to bite the team, most notably in the pair of Yordan Alvarez and Oneil Cruz. However, there are plenty of examples of the Dodgers trading top prospects who don’t end up panning out for their new team. They mostly win.
Grant Holmes was a top-100 prospect and was traded to Oakland in the Rich Hill deal. Holmes has yet to make the big leagues and has a 6.90 ERA in AAA this season. Yusniel Diaz was the cornerstone piece of the Manny Machado trade. The former top-100 prospect has played just 59 games in AAA and has a .189 batting average.
Another example of the Dodgers trading the right prospect at the right time is Willie Calhoun, who was also a former top-100 prospect and dealt in the Yu Darvish blockbuster in 2017. Calhoun has made the big leagues unlike his former peers, but has not been very good. He’s sporting a casual -1.6 career WAR in 253 games played over six seasons.
While things have not been going well for Calhoun, there’s one person who thinks they can unlock his previous potential: former Dodgers general manager and current Giants president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi.
The Giants recently flipped Steven Duggar for Calhoun in a trade as Zaidi looks to conduct some baseball magic on the player that he previously helped trade.
Knowing the Giants, Willie Calhoun will become a thorn in the Dodgers’ side
While Calhoun has been horrible in his MLB career thus far, we should not rule out his potential impact on the Giants. After all, Zaidi took the Dodgers playbook with him when he was hired by San Fran. It’s the same playbook that Friedman took with him from Tampa Bay when he was hired by the Dodgers.
Just like the Dodgers, the Giants have enjoyed several improbable performances since Zaidi joined the fold. While the team has taken a step back this year, it was these improbable performances that pushed the Giants to snap the Dodgers’ eight-year streak of winning the NL West. It only took 107 wins.
Zaidi was with the Dodgers when the team acquired the likes of Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy — all of whom went from replacement-level players to All-Stars in LA. No one in that trio had the same prior pedigree that Calhoun does as a former top-100 prospect.
Calhoun has shown flashes of being productive at the big-league level, too. In 83 games in 2019, he slashed .269/.323/.524 with a 110 OPS+. He had a 162-game pace of 40 home runs, 93 RBIs and 162 hits. Can’t rule out Zaidi and the Giants rediscovering that production.
Calhoun wasn’t given a big-league roster spot after the trade and he currently isn’t on the 40-man roster. However, he’s already hit the ground running with an .801 OPS in three games with the Sacramento River Cats.
It might just be a matter of time until he hits a big pinch-hit home run in the late innings against the Dodgers.