What should the Texas Rangers do with Jurickson Profar?
Much hand-wringing has been going on for basically the last year and a half in and around Arlington regarding what to do about the Texas Rangers’ top prospect, Jurickson Profar. The angst has only ramped up more during this current season as injuries to several infielders, and what’s viewed as an inevitable suspension of outfielder Nelson Cruz for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
If the twenty year old is the stud that scouts say he is, why isn’t he playing every day at the major league level? That answer is two-fold: Primarily, the Rangers don’t really have a spot for him. His natural position is short stop, but the Rangers aren’t moving current SS Elvis Andrus from that position. 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler was the Rangers’ MVP up to the point that he got hurt, however the general consensus is that Profar can play better defense with less errors at that position beyond 2013 (if Kinsler were willing to move to the outfield, that is). Kinsler’s transition to the outfield in 2014 would allow for better defense in the field, when Nelly Cruz is shown the door after his contract expires at the end of this season. So until next season, there is nowhere for Profar to play full-time where he would be better than the player he’d replace. You can talk about trading Kinsler or Profar, but I’ve yet to see a trade scenario that upgrades your current MLB talent. You’d really just be trading talent at one position (SS or 2B) for talent at another (Outfield or Pitching). This front office is not one that makes trades out of fear that the short term won’t pan out how they wanted. Having an extra bat or bullpen help may be legitimate concerns, but moving talent as good as Kinsler or Profar won’t get you where you want to go, unless you’re getting a haul back, and if that trade were out there, Texas would have pulled the trigger already.
So the Rangers have two legitimate, quality options: They can send Profar back down to play every day in the minors, allowing them to retain their contractual rights to him for the next six seasons, or they can keep him in the majors the rest of the season in the same super utility role that Mike Young was in last year, enabling him to play various positions within the infield around four days a week, while giving each infielder at least a day off. This scenario would give Profar extra seasoning contractually, allowing Texas to retain his rights for the next four years instead of six.
In a perfect world, the Rangers would prefer the former scenario. Leury Garcia has been playing well enough in spot duty that Texas should feel comfortable that he can fill that backup infielder role thru the summer until rosters expand in August. The wildcard issue is the rash of injuries. It may force the front office to keep Jurickson up in the majors, and in turn give him a larger role over a solid player in Garcia.
Looking at the Rangers’ roster, along with potential options outside of the current roster, you could easily come to the conclusion that Profar is the best available option to help this team contend in 2013, and if that’s the case, then management has no choice but to keep him up on the major league roster and get him as much playing time as possible. It’s something everyone will be keeping an eye on all summer.