Ryan Kalish's surgery was apparently a success, but that doesn't mean we can expect him back anytime soon. At least that's what Pete Abraham heard, with the Globe reporter citing a recovery period of six months. That's just a little more than the five months predicted by Alex Speier based on the cases of B.J. Upton and Adrian Gonzalez.
Long story short, that means the Red Sox should not be expecting any help from the once-promising outfield prospect this year. He won't be ready to even start on his way back until August, which makes him a long shot to figure into the season in any significant way. Really, when you consider the course of his career so far and the team's plans as a whole, it's not hard to imagine that Kalish will never find his way back into the fold again.
Even if he does, those names above--Gonzalez and Upton--are hardly encouraging. Upton was never the same after his 2008 injury, and while Adrian Gonzalez enjoyed an MVP-type campaign in 2011, it was largely BABIP-fueled. Without the luck of the ground balls on his side, Gonzalez saw his wOBA come crashing down to .346 this past year. It's anecdotal evidence at best, yes, but still hardly what you want to see.
Kalish could dodge that troubling trend and make his way back. There's still a lot of talent somewhere in there, and if he can avoid the disabled list for a while he may be able to find his ability again. But the Red Sox are not looking to be a team that has roster space available to commit to dice rolls and gambles in the years to come. Really, this would have been the perfect season for Kalish to be coming off this sort of injury. But unfortunately, his journey back has only just begun.
Boston will likely not have to burn their final option year on Kalish in 2013 thanks to the injury. If there's any positive to be taken from this, it's that there will be no need to make a quick-cut decision come the end of the year on him. Still, Jackie Bradley is clearly expected to take up one of the outfield spots in the immediate future, and it would not be surprising to see Bryce Brentz leapfrog Kalish as the solid, cheap third choice to go with Bradley and Victorino as the season progresses. It also doesn't help that there's a mighty deep free agent outfield class on the horizon. 2013 was Kalish's one real shot to keep his place in the mix; now he may have to find somewhere else to prove himself when he does get healthy.