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Giants trade Steven Duggar for Willie Calhoun

So long to a good Giant.

Steven Duggar in the batter’s box Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants made a left-handed hitting outfielder swap on Thursday, sending Steven Duggar to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Willie Calhoun and cash considerations.

Trades are always interesting things that lead to interesting opinions, so let’s be clear about what this is and what it is not.

What it is not: a move made to secure a talent upgrade. Calhoun has, by Fangraphs WAR, been a below replacement value player in five of his six MLB seasons, topping out at +0.2 fWAR in 2019, his only positive year (he’s at -2.2 fWAR for his career). With the exception of that 2019, he’s been a comfortably below-average hitter by every metric in every year of his career, while also being a bad defender.

What it is: a move made to give the Giants more flexibility. Calhoun was recently designated for assignment and outrighted by the Rangers, meaning he’s not on the 40-man roster. Duggar was on the 40-man roster, but due to falling behind Mike Yastrzemski, Joc Pederson, Luis González, and LaMonte Wade Jr. on the left-handed hitting outfield depth chart, was clogging a spot. Calhoun can head to AAA Sacramento where he won’t take up a spot on the team’s roster, but will be available for MLB depth should the Giants need him.

But just because Calhoun hasn’t been good in his career doesn’t mean he can’t be going forward. He was a top 100 prospect while in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization (Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was the Dodgers’ general manager when they drafted Calhoun), and Fangraphs ranked him as Texas’ No. 2 prospect in 2018. His hit and power tools have always been impressive, and he’s still just 27 years old — one year younger, to the day, than Duggar — so the Giants will have hopes of being able to tap into his potential.

Duggar ends his Giants career after seven years in the organization. The Giants drafted him in the sixth round of the 2015 draft, and he debuted in 2018. He’s always been a fantastic defensive outfielder at all three positions, but has struggled offensively, though he had a very nice season in 2021.

Best of luck in Texas, Duggar.