The Cubs figure to turn several short term assets into multiple long term pieces before the July 31 trade deadline. It is highly unlikely that players such as Carlos Villanueva and Jose Veras are with the team on August 1 and that was thought to be the case with Nate Schierholtz.
The Cubs’ right fielder is a free agent after the season. Schierholtz agreed to an affordable $5 million contract for the 2014 season to avoid arbitration. And he is coming off a career-year in which he hit .251/.301/.470 with a career-high .770 OPS. Schierholtz recorded 32 doubles, three triples and 21 home runs while playing above-average defense in the outfield. But what might make Schierholtz more than appealing to a contending team is the .262/.300/.499 slash line against right handed pitching. Schierholtz has played in six games this spring and is 4-for-16 with a double, a home run and two walks.
Ryan Kalish signed a minor league contract with the Cubs this winter. Kalish reported to camp ready to compete for a job. Kalish says he is healthy for the first time in three years, and was reportedly ticketed for Triple-A Iowa to start the season. Kalish has appeared in five games this spring and he is 2-for-11 with three walks, four runs scored and two stolen bases (.182/.357/.182).
Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday night that Nate Schierholtz “could be available via trade as a result of Ryan Kalish’s progress.” Morosi is not sure if the Tigers would be interested in trading for Schierholtz or not. According to multiple rumors during the winter, the Cubs were listening to offers for Nate Schierholtz but did not receive what they were looking for and decided to hold on to him until July.
Ryan Kalish turns 26 this month (March 25) and it feels like a long time ago in which he was considered one of the top prospects in the game. Scouts once thought Kalish would hit for average in the big leagues while supplying 15-20 home runs a year from the left side of the plate, which sounds pretty much like Nate Schierholtz. But Kalish is four years younger and more athletic with a higher upside, plus he would fit into the Cubs’ plans moving forward.
If the Cubs feel Ryan Kalish has recovered from cervical fusion surgery, opening a spot on the 40-man roster for him while dealing Nate Schierholtz for other players that could add inventory to the system would be the right move for the organization.