The Texas Rangers announced a series of roster moves Sunday, including the promotion of outfielder Steele Walker and demotion of infielder Andy Ibáñez. In a corresponding 40-player roster move, the Rangers designated outfielder Willie Calhoun for assignment, a month after he requested a trade.
Calhoun, originally acquired as part of the 2017 trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers, talked about his frustration with his situation in May. “I just respectfully asked them like, ‘If I’m not part of the future here with this team, is there any way that we can work out a trade or anything?”http://www.cbssports.com/” he told MLB.com. “I didn’t do it in a disrespectful way, but I’m just looking out for myself. I’m 27, it’s not like I’m 22 with all this time to develop anymore.”
If this marks the end of Calhoun’s time with the Rangers — and Texas will have time to seek a trade before either having to release or subject him to waivers — it comes after more than 900 plate appearances. Calhoun hit .241/.300/.407 (86 OPS+) with 32 home runs during that time. This season, he’d hit .136/.283/.273 (65 OPS+) with one home run in 44 at-bats.
Walker, who the Rangers obtained in 2019 in exchange for Nomar Mazara, had hit .297/.395/.487 in 20 Triple-A contests. Despite that performance, he was not ranked as part of Baseball America’s top 30 Rangers prospects. Walker figures to see action in left field, as the Rangers have recently turned to a platoon that includes Zach Reks and Eli White.
Ibáñez opened the season as the Rangers starting third baseman. He’s struggled at the plate, however, amassing a .216/.272/.276 (62 OPS+) slash line with one home run and three stolen bases. Ibáñez’s demotion ought to allow for more playing time for top prospect and recent promotion Ezequiel Durán.
Coming into Sunday, the Rangers sit one game out of the wild card race with a 25-27 record.