The San Diego Padres have been in search of a shortstop for a long time.
Alexei Ramirez, Clint Barmes, Alexi Amarista, Luis Sardinas, and Erick Aybar have all manned the position in the last three years. Before that, the team was not any better at the position, as Jason Bartlett, Everth Cabrera, and Luis Rodriguez all started on opening day for the club. Not since 2008, when the club enjoyed Khalil Greene at the position, have the Padres had any semblance of stability at short. Greene started at the position for five consecutive years (2004-2008), but there has been uncertainty ever since.
In recent days, the Texas Rangers have sent down one-time top-prospect, Jurickson Profar, after he began the season as the club’s starting left fielder. He has struggled with the bat early this year, and the club reportedly wants him to play everyday in Triple-A. There are also reports that the team wants him to play mostly shortstop while in the minors. They seem to be doing this in order to maximize his trade value. The team is already invested in Elvis Andrus long-term at the position. It’s time for the Rangers to move on from Profar.
The switch-hitter is a natural shortstop, but he has the ability to play any infield position, and within recent years has played a lot of outfield. At the very least, the young man has great possibility as a utility player in the league. At the age of 24, his future in the majors is very much up in the air.
A.J. Preller has extensive knowledge of the Rangers’ system and he has been linked to Profar in the past. The question is how can the Padres acquire the young man without paying the reported high asking price? Rangers’ G.M. Jon Daniels wants top dollar, but he has to realize that Profar has done nothing recently to warrant that asking price. His numbers are pedestrian, at best, in the last few seasons.
Profar did play in 132 games last season between Triple-A and the Rangers. That is huge, as he previously missed two consecutive seasons (2014-15) with back to back shoulder injuries to his throwing arm. He has since recovered, but many were concerned about his propensity for injuries, especially to that delicate throwing arm. The over 440 at bats he received last year, and the fact he was able to take the field all over the baseball diamond, lead most to believe that his shoulder shouldn’t be a factor in his career.
Jurickson Profar is making $1,050,000 this year and is due for arbitration next season. The young ball player from Curacao is not due for free agency until the 2020 season, so he has some long-term value. With more than 2 1/2 years of service time left in his contract, he could be viewed as a bargain. His ability is there, the man has just not been given a shot to play everyday.
Offensively, he has a lot of ability. Being a switch-hitter is great as he can easily remain in your lineup everyday. Profar has some speed and some power. Nothing to be too excited about presently, but his power could develop in time as he thickens up. He stole 23 bases in 2011, but that was when he was 18 and playing in Single-A. Profar only stole six bases total last year, and the speed aspect of his game is probably diminishing. As far as power goes, he hit 10 bombs last year between Triple-A and the majors. At times, he has consistently driven the ball into the gap, but then he goes into a slump where he tends to roll over on balls.
In my opinion, with the correct guidance, his bat could be a plus in time. He generally puts the ball in play and has shown a decent eye at the plate throughout his baseball career. Despite hitting .239 last year in Texas, he recorded a .321 on base percentage, as he walked 30 times in 272 at bats. He consistently gets on base, despite never hitting over .286 at any level.
Jurickson Profar is not the next Francisco Lindor. He is not that type of player, but he can be serviceable. Especially at a position that generally lacks offensive type players. The San Diego Padres should definitely be interested in his services. If the price tag is within reason, then he should be acquired, and he should be given a chance to play everyday at short. Erick Aybar is great for the development of the youngsters, but it is only a matter of time before the team wants a player of the future getting at bats at the position. Luis Sardinas was once viewed as a player who could emerge and take over the position. He has clearly fallen out of favor with Andy Green, and his future with the team is cloudy at best.
The Rangers already have Jurickson Profar playing shortstop in the minors. They know that is where his value lies. The cards are on the table. Both fraternity brothers (Preller and Daniels) need to get a deal done. The Padres can help the Rangers with bullpen arms now. The Padres also have plenty of lower level prospects to throw in the deal if that is what the Rangers want. There is no doubt a deal could get done to benefit both teams.
Profar would be the perfect bridge to the next level of minor league shortstops the Padres have waiting. Javier Guerra and Fernando Tatis Jr. are a few years from sniffing the major leagues. It would be wise to attain a player you have faith in at the position. Clearly Sardinas and Aybar are not the answer. I’m not saying Profar is a lock to be an all-star or anything, but his ceiling is intriguing and he would be well worth the gamble if the asking price is not crippling. Stay tuned. This is worth monitoring.