It appears the San Diego Padres have acquired Jurickson Profar from the Oakland A’s for catcher Austin Allen.
For years, speculation around AJ Preller acquiring Jurickson Profar when he was a Texas Ranger swirled once Preller arrived as the newly-minted general manager in San Diego.
Now, Preller has finally acquired the player he once signed as an international free agent but, instead of him coming over as a Ranger, he’ll be obtained from the Oakland Athletics.
Early on December 2nd, the Padres swung a deal with the Oakland A’s to acquire the 26-year-old Profar in exchange for catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later or cash.
The Oakland A's have traded infielder Jurickson Profar to the San Diego Padres for catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later, sources tell ESPN.
Profar was likely to be non-tendered before the 8 p.m. ET deadline, and Oakland wound up getting Allen, 25 with some pop.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 2, 2019
The earlier trade of Luis Urias left a hole at second base that Profar will presumably step into. Injuries have limited Profar, but he has posted back-to-back seasons of over 500 plate appearances with both the Rangers and A’s.
After hitting a relatively healthy .254/.335/.458 in 2018, Profar’s numbers plummetted to a .218/.310/.410 batting line in Oakland. His defensive stock also took a hit as 11 throwing errors at second base stuck him with a -10 DRS.
Peeling back the layers to Profar’s hitting woes leads to a bright potential. His 2019 strikeout and walk ratios were nearly identical to his 2018 ratios while he posted an xWOBA of .323 in 2019. Considering his xWOBA of .325 led to a 2.8 fWAR in 2018, and he still posted a 1.3 fWAR in 2019 despite his flaws is promising enough for the Padres to roll the dice on a bounceback season.
The most significant factor of his 2019 season? His BABIP. In 2019, Profar had a BABIP of .218, the lowest BAIP number amongst qualified batters in the league. However, his 2018 BABIP sat at .269, or around league average, and Profar saw positive gains in his at-bats.
Fangraphs’ “Steamer” projects that Profar will post a 2.2 fWAR season while his wRC+ will bounce back to a 104, fifteen points higher than his 2018 wRC+ of 84. If everything falls in his place, San Diego just made a steal.
In exchange for getting Profar in a brown-and-gold uniform, Preller dipped into a position of strength by trading Allen. After dominating the Pacific Coast League, Allen hit a puny .215/.282/.277 with the Padres. Despite posting substantial framing numbers, Allen has always struggled with throwing out potential base-stealers as opposing players went 8-for-9 in stolen base attempts with Allen behind the dish.
San Diego has plenty of options at both the Major and Minor league level concerning backstops. Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia will share duties (unless an unforeseen trade occurs) at the Major League level while Luis Torrens, Luis Campusano, and Blake Hunt are all options in the minors.
With the addition of Profar, the Padres seem to be set at second base. However, with Greg Garcia and Ian Kinsler still on the roster (for now), it will be interesting to see how Jayce Tingler sets his new chess piece in motion come 2020.