Former Cub Ryan Kalish signs with Toronto Blue Jays


Former Chicago Cubs outfielder Ryan Kalish has signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Last season with Chicago,  the former highly-touted prospect batted .248/.295/.347 in 121 at-bats spanning 57 games. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Iowa, where he posted a .726 OPS while appearing in the outfield for the Cubs. He showed flashes of power, smacking eight home runs and driving in 37 runs – which could have played a role in the Jays acquiring him.

Kalish, 26, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the ninth round of the 2006 MLB draft. After an impressive stint early on in the minors, he was called up to the big leagues in 2010 where he struggled. In 53 games, Kalish managed to post a .252 batting average, 24 RBI and just four home runs. In addition to those numbers, he struck out 38 times out of 163 at-bats.

His next opportunity in the majors came in 2012, and his struggles were even worse. In only 36 games, he hit a lowly .229 and his number of strikeouts increased. He also went homerless and his on-base percentage dipped from .305 in his first year to .272 in the next campaign.

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In 2013, Kalish underwent cervical fusion surgery on his neck, and another surgery to repair an injured shoulder as well. He eventually had his contract non-tendered, allowing him to sign with the Chicago Cubs. Kalish saw most of his big league action to date in Chicago, but after a mediocre start to the season in which he posted a .248 average and no home runs, his production began to decrease and he was ultimately sent to the minors in the month of August.

Once rated as one of the better prospects in all of baseball, Kalish still has a chance to turn things around and enjoy a long career in the majors. The lefty outfielder will look to resurrect his still young and potentially promising career. The Blue Jays possibly offer a chance for Kalish to have success, as a change of scenery may be just what he needs. Their recent string of minor league signings speaks to the direction they are heading, so he’ll likely be able to compete for a spot on the major league roster as a bench player.

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