Do you remember Ryan Kalish?
The former Cub and speedy outfielder has just resigned with Chicago to a minor league deal, per the Chicago Cubs transaction page.
Kalish, 27, signed his first minor league deal with the Cubs back in December 2013, which included an invitation to big league camp.
After a month of play in the Cactus League, and some well-earned praise from the front office, it was announced that Kalish – along with Mike Olt* – would be breaking camp with the big league team (can you believe that’s what we used to call “cookies?”).
After declining an assignment to Iowa after the 2014 season, Kalish tried to catch on with the Blue Jays that winter. He did end up getting another minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp, but injuries prevented him from playing in 2015. In fact, injuries have been a big problem throughout his career. According to Peter Gammons, Kalish had already undergone seven(!) surgeries in his young career before his time in Toronto: two on his hamate bone, two on his neck, two on one should and one on the other. And, that was before the two he just had – one on each knee – during the Spring of 2015 with Toronto.
But Kalish is back now, and ready to go.
In October 2015, Kalish began his comeback, playing for the Criollos de Caguas, in the Puerto Rican Winter League. You can read more on his story here, from Peter Gammons, and it’s a pretty good read. Kalish is clearly a hard working individual, determined to make it back to the majors.
And with the Cubs, he may just have his chance.
If Kalish – who turns 28 in about a month – can prove that the recent knee surgeries have not negatively impacted his performance, he could conceivably become Major League defensive depth, stashed for now at AAA Iowa. With his track record and work ethic, Kalish is an easy guy to root for in 2016.
*(Odd that Olt, too, is in the news today, but for less fun reasons.)