DALLAS - The Nationals’ search for a center fielder who can hit leadoff may lead to Boston, where the Red Sox could be willing to part with an outfielder in exchange for a pitcher.
New Boston general manager Ben Cherington is dangling Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick in hopes that he can pry an arm from the Nationals, according to a major league source.
Kalish is a 23-year-old left-handed hitter who reached the majors in 2010 and hit .252 with hour homers and 24 RBIs and stole 10 bases in 53 games when the Red Sox were without the injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Two of those homers were grand slams, and Kalish was voted the Red Sox Rookie of the Year at season’s end.
He couldn’t crack a crowded Boston outfield in spring training and was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. There, Kalish’s breakneck defensive style caught up with him and he injured his left shoulder making a diving catch in an April game (the video is here). He was diagnosed with a partially torn labrum, opted for rehabilitation over surgery, and his season ended in August when he underwent surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck. In 24 games for Single-A Lowell and Pawtucket in 2011, he hit .228 with 11 RBIs, no homers and four stolen bases.
Reddick is a 24-year-old 17th-round draft pick from 2006, who has batted .248 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in parts of three seasons with Boston. He also bats from the left side, and batted .230 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs in 52 games for Pawtucket last season. He was plagued by a problematic wrist injury and underwent surgery in November to repair torn cartilage.
Of the pair, Kalish probably has the speed necessary to fill the Nationals’ needs. He’s got a good eye - drawing 199 walks in 291 minor league games over six seasons - and a career .367 on-base percentage in the minors. Reddick has more pop in his bat, with 86 homers and 299 RBIs in five minor league campaigns. Kalish is a little better defensively.
What would the Nationals need to part with to land either Kalish or Reddick?
Follow Pete Kerzel on Twitter: @kerzelpete