Ryan Kalish will no longer be a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports that his minor-league deal with the club has fallen through. Kalish will now re-enter free agency. At this time, there are no reports as to why Kalish and the Blue Jays will not be able to complete this contract.
My initial suspicion is that a medical issue arose with Kalish during his physical, as he missed the entire 2013 season following surgery to repair shoulder and back issues. Kalish was originally a selection of the Boston Red Sox, who he made his MLB debut for in 2010 after cracking several top prospect lists, including a ranking of 96 by Baseball America prior to the 2008 season.
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This will not set the Blue Jays franchise back a decade, but regardless, Kalish could have been a valuable depth piece to have kicking around in in AAA Buffalo. In 412 plate appearances at the MLB level, the 6’0, 215lb left-handed hitter posted a slash line of .245 / .293 / .350.
The Blue Jays reported interest in Ichiro Suziki has sparked another wave of discussion regarding their depth in the outfield, where Kevin Pillar is currently the lead option as the 4th man. Rookie Dalton Pompey is expected to start in CF with Michael Saunders, who has battled injuries in the past, slotted in LF. Although Kalish was not a name I expected to push for a spot on the Major League roster in any way, he could have been considered if injuries had arisen later in the season and he was performing well at the AAA level.
This doesn’t necessarily create a “hole” that Alex Anthopoulos will rush to plug in the coming days, but it could increase the likelihood of him adding another Minor League depth piece through waivers or free agency. We’ll keep you posted as more details leak out about the situation with Ryan Kalish, along with any personnel moves that might follow as a result.