Should the Padres bring Jurickson Profar back?

Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

There are many reasons for the success of the 2022 San Diego Padres.

In order to go deep in the playoffs, your star players need to play effectively, but you also need unheralded players to perform and produce. Jurickson Profar may not put up the offensive numbers you crave if you are a professional team, but he was a vital member of the Padres clubhouse in 2022.

As the 2022 season closed, Profar had a decision to make. Should he return to San Diego or test the free agent market?

The outfielder opted out of his 2023 deal with the Padres for $8.33 million and instead elected for the $1 million buyout.

To this date, Profar has not signed with anyone. He is still a free agent.

The Padres presently need offensive help, and a reunion with Profar is possible. A lot will need to happen for the native of Curacao to return to San Diego, but it is not out of the question. Let’s examine the pros and cons of the Padres bringing Profar back in 2023 and beyond.

Yes, the team needs offensive players

The dynamic smile on Jurickson Profar lights up a room. He speaks three languages (English, Spanish, and Dutch) and is widely considered a favorite in the Padres lock room. Fernando Tatis Jr. is often seen with Profar, and the two are close friends. Profar even spent time with Tatis Jr. in the Dominican Republic this winter. The versatile switch-hitter can play all over the diamond, though the Padres have mainly used him in the outfield.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Jurickson Profar threw out ten runners and played better defense than his numbers dictate. He will not be a Gold-Glove caliber outfielder but is very serviceable. At this point, the Padres do need offensive help, and there is a lot of familiarity with Profar and the Padres. It would be nice for him to be a part of this current Padres’ regime. In 2022, Profar spent most of the season as the leadoff hitter against right-handed pitching. He enjoyed early success in that role and showed a lot of promise. Profar will be 30 in February and still should have some life to his game for the next few seasons.

No, look elsewhere to fill a need

Jurickson Profar has never hit over .300 in his professional baseball career at any level, including the minors.  He may be a name you have heard in the league for a long time, but his offensive numbers are rather pedestrian. In nine major league seasons, Profar owns a .708 OPS and a 94 OPS+ with a .238 batting average. For the Padres, he has recorded a .707 OPS in three seasons. There just isn’t much to like with his offensive production, and it is difficult to believe he will get better with age in that department.

Sure, he is versatile, but the Padres will probably not be able to pay his asking price. Scott Boras will likely demand a multiple-year deal, and San Diego may not be able to afford the hit on the payroll. The team may be better suited to allocate those funds to multiple players. Before the 2021 season, A.J. Preller gave Profar a three-year deal for $21 million. He will likely come close to that this winter from some franchise.

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The verdict

In the end, it will all come down to cost.

How much will Profar take to reunite with the Padres? He turned down an $8.33 million payday. Profar’s agent Scott Boras will try to hold out for a multi-year deal. The Padres may be interested in Profar for two seasons as a bench player and super-utility player. But again, it will come down to cost. There is no doubt that Profar was a popular player in the Padres clubhouse. How much does his locker room presence boost his overall value, though? Only time will tell. Spring Training is weeks away.

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