I understand why the Boston Red Sox let Ryan Kalish go. They were in a bit of a roster crunch and could not continue to wait on him to reach his potential, but that does not mean that he does not make sense for other teams. The Chicago Cubs are in a perfect position to take a flyer on Kalish, and give him the time needed to become the promising player that he was once thought of.
As I have said many times before, the Cubs need to acquire outfield help this offseason. The New York Yankees gave former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year deal worth $153 million on Tuesday night. The Cubs are not expected to be competitive in 2014, so I have a hard time thinking that they should spend that kind of money on a player unless they have yet to reach their prime years.
Because of this, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle on a buy-low option seems to be the best option for the Cubs as they look to add another outfielder. The fact that Kalish is only 25-years-old and could become a future core player is the cherry on the top.
The connection to the Cubs is obvious. Kalish was an over-slot ninth-round draft pick by the Red Sox when current Cubs president Theo Epstein was the GM in Boston. He is an athletic player that was once one of the top prospects in the Boston system. In 2009, Kalish was named the organizational player of the year for the Red Sox and made many top-100 prospect lists.
Kalish’s career .794 OPS and 11.7 percent walk rate in the minors is very impressive, but his .644 OPS and 6.4 percent walk rate in 282 major league plate appearances is not. Kalish has played all over the outfield in his professional career, but he is not considered to be a good defender. I highly doubt that he can handle center field full-time in the majors, but if he can hit in the big leagues like he has in the minors, he could stick in right or left field.
The potential is there and even if he becomes nothing more than a backup outfielder, the move would be worth it for the Cubs. This is a rare opportunity to take a flyer on a young player in a position of need. Simply put, the Cubs have nothing to lose.