Kole Calhoun is 35 years old, just trying to play well enough to make a case for continuing his career into 2024. And right now, the former Gold Glover is doing just that, slashing .306/.370/.469 in 54 plate appearances with the Guardians, providing Cleveland's offense with a much-needed spark.
And in Tuesday night's 8-3 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Calhoun delivered the decisive blow, a three-run homer that put the Guardians up 7-3 in the seventh inning, effectively put the game out of reach.
Calhoun likely won't be part of Cleveland's 2024 plans (though I wouldn't be against entertaining the idea of keeping him around as a veteran bench bat), but he does once again show the importance of having someone - anyone - in the lineup who actually has some pop.
He has 175 home runs over his 12-year MLB career, averaging 21 homers a year from 2014 to 2020 when he was mostly a mainstay in the Angels' lineup. With a 102 career OPS+ and .244/.317/.419 slash line, he has never been an elite hitter, but he's a valued bat in any lineup, capable of getting on base and, most importantly, hitting home runs in key situations.
No matter what happens with Calhoun, the Guardians are in desperate need of a few more hitters like him. At first glance, Calhoun might not doing anything exceptionally well, but the very possibility that Calhoun could get into a pitch - like he did Tuesday night - means so much to this lineup.
The funny thing is, it's not that hard to find someone like that. I wouldn't say guys like Calhoun are a dime a dozen, and I don't think one would expect Calhoun to last an entire season with the team, but he could help carry your offense on a hot week. The Guardians just need to get creative in looking outside the organization for depth bats like Calhoun this offseason; otherwise, 2024 is likely going to be another torturous season offensively.