Red Sox: Two-way player Oscar Colas could address two needs

Oscar Colas is declaring free agency and the Red Sox should take note

The ever-expanding list of international free agents who have chosen to pursue opportunities playing for Major League Baseball teams has officially gained another name, with the variety of fresh faces with upside making the free agency market a hot commodity this offseason. Cuban two-way player Oscar Colas has officially declared free agency after a stint in Japan and could be an asset for the Boston Red Sox.

The name Oscar Colas has been thrown around for nearly a calendar year, regarding speculation that he might leave the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, the Japanese team he initially signed with after playing for in the Cuban National Series. After a lengthy battle with the team eventually led to his contract being voided, he has made a big step in achieving his dreams to be a major league star.

MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that Colas has been declared a free agent by MLB and will be eligible to sign with a club next month.

Colas is only 22 years of age, which might lead to speculation about his readiness for major league action. As both an outfielder and a pitcher, his presence could kill two birds with one stone for the Red Sox, even if it’s a year or two down the road.

Colas has been dubbed the “Cuban Shohei Ohtani” for being effective as both a pitcher and hitter. This might be misleading considering his small sample size as a hurler, but we’ll touch on that shortly. His hitting, on the other hand, is worth taking a closer look at.

Since his debut with the Cuban National Series in 2016, the then 17-year-old has done nothing but produce at the plate. Between his time in Cuba and Japan, the two-way player has participated in a total of 187 games with a slash line of .282/.343./.483 while hitting 28 home runs and 116 RBI. While he only has to show a little over a season’s worth of work since 2016, his scouting report indicates that he is in line to be a worthy investment offensively considering the numbers he has managed to put up between ages 17 to 22.

His pitching numbers are solid, albeit in a very small sample size. 3 1/3 innings pitched does not indicate in the slightest that he is a solid option as a major league pitcher, as there is not enough documentation to back up the claim that he can contribute every fifth day or out of the bullpen. It does, however, show that there is a potential talent worth exploring.

The lefty has a repertoire highlighted by a fastball that tops out around 95 MPH, and should a team take a closer look at his ability to pitch regularly or just abandon the thought all-together really comes down to which organization he deems the best fit. Should his future organization try to develop him as a pitcher, his youth and time-table to develop his pitches would play a significant role in determining how he pans out on the mound if he were given more playing time at the position.

Boston could at least entertain the idea of taking a closer look at Colas given the fact that it is looking to inject its farm system with some youth and most importantly, future pitching assets. With the future of the outfield looking relatively uncertain, he could eventually find himself playing regularly in right field if pitching does not work out over a larger sample size.

The Red Sox organization is no stranger to signing international talent, some for better, some for worse. In the past, Boston has been able to lure many players from across seas to play for the organization. Every team remains active in pursuing international talent, with some making bigger splashes than others. The Red Sox have, for the most part, made solid additions via the international market, refraining from pursuing big-name players whose names are not often mentioned in the mainstream media. The organization’s last big-name international signing was five years ago when the team landed a certain hyped superstar out of Cuba.

The aforementioned ‘mainstream’ international signing splash the Red Sox made came in 2015 when they landed Yoan Moncada, who has since seen his career take off with the Chicago White Sox after being shipped out to Chicago as part of the Chris Sale blockbuster.

Handing out contracts to unproven talent is the kind of high-risk, high-reward that must be taken for the benefit of the organization at times. A player with the potential to possibly contribute on the mound while being an offensive presence when not pitching seems like a worthwhile investment. There will surely be competition for the outfielder’s services. Whether the Red Sox are one of the teams interested in a player that could possibly possess the talent to both pitch and hit is unknown.