Boston Red Sox fans, Ryan Kalish will be your right fielder in 2012. While all the rumors ran rampant during the winter meetings as they do every year, one thing became clear: The Red Sox are not going to spend big money this season if they do not have to.
And, they don't have to.
This week we've seen the Sox sign Kelly Shoppach to a two-year deal worth around $1.75 million per season and they have also signed utility man Nick Punto for two years at around $1.5 million per season. They have also made a trade for Houston Astros closer Mark Melancon for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland. While impressive as these moves may be, none of them measured on the Richter scale.
I doubt any moves they make right now will.
What we are likely to see moving forward are more of these small, budget-friendly moves happening. They used up two of their chips to obtain a closer that some believe will have an immediate impact to the bullpen.
Having said that, there is no reason to upgrade over Ryan Kalish in right field at the moment. While his experience at the Major League level is limited to just 53 games in 2010, Kalish is long thought to be the next stud to come up in the Red Sox system.
Frankly, there is no reason to believe he won't be. Though he only had .252 average in 163 at-bats in 2010, he did manage 41 hits and drove in 24 runs while swiping 10 bases for the big club. If you want to project that over 162 games, Kalish is likely to drive in 73 runs while stealing 31 bases.
Kalish offers the team exactly what they wanted out of JD Drew, a bit of speed with the ability to drive in some runs and play solid defense in right field. The best part is that Kalish is under team control for the foreseeable future at affordable dollars.
Kalish being your right fielder allows the team to use their money and other assets to go out and acquire pitching depth, something that the team has obviously been lacking.