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Jurickson Profar Rumors
MLBTR offers its best wishes to the family and friends of former Negro League player Herb Simpson, who passed away Wednesday at age 94. As MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes, Simpson was the last known surviving member of the Seattle Steelheads and also saw action with the Birmingham Black Barons and Chicago American Giants.
As we honor an early pioneer of African-American baseball in the Pacific Northwest, here are some notes from the league’s western divisions:
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that asking prices in trade talks for another backstop are simply too high at present. “We’ve not made a whole lot of headway in that area yet,” said Stewart. “Without really giving up something that’s going to cost us a player that we don’t want to give away, we don’t have a whole lot of motion yet.” Arizona has had talks with the Blue Jays regarding Dioner Navarro and with the Cubs regarding Welington Castillo, says Piecoro.
- The Rockies have “mild” interest in trading for Dan Haren, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. However, as he notes, the thin air and homer-friendly nature of Coors Field make Colorado a fairly poor fit for Haren. Morosi also tweets that while the Giants did have interest earlier in the offseason (prior to re-signing Jake Peavy), there’s no active dialogue between Miami and San Francisco.
- Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar, who missed the entire 2014 season after tearing the same muscle in his right shoulder twice, has been cleared to begin a throwing program on Jan. 19, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Still just 21 years old, it was only two years ago that Profar was the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in baseball (per Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com). A healthy Profar would give the Rangers somewhat of a surplus of middle infielders, as Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor are both in the fold as well.
Texas has several irons in the fire. Here’s the latest:
- The Rangers are fielding strong interest in their middle infield group, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Jurickson Profar is among the names that has been asked about, and Texas has received particularly strong interest in Rougned Odor.The Rangers are not shopping Odor, who is still only 20 years of age and had a solid MLB debut last year. That pair of youngsters is joined in the Texas infield by incumbent shortstop Elvis Andrus and 21-year-old Luis Sardinas. The potential logjam up the middle has yet to materialize with Profar’s recent injury troubles, though the team could feel free to deal from depth depending upon his progress.
- Meanwhile, the Rangers and Padres are still talking pitching, Sullivan tweets, though Texas has more interest in Tyson Ross than in Andrew Cashner because of the latter’s health concerns and road numbers.
- San Diego is interested in Profar, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But he says that a straight swap of Profar for one of the Friars’ three best arms (Ross, Cashner, and Ian Kennedy) is not going to get done.
- Sullivan also notes on Twitter that teams remain intrigued by the upside potential of outfielder Michael Choice, who had a rough 2014, but that clubs looking to plug an immediate hole do not see him as a solution.
The gap between the haves and have-nots in baseball have lessened because of revenue sharing and financial incentives not to overspend in the draft and free agency, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The Dodgers, however, are utilizing a different model to maximize their financial advantage: buying front office talent. Drellich notes the $7MM average annual value Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman earns would make him the Astros’ third-highest paid player. “Big-market, small-market potential difference,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said. “There does seem to be increased competition for talented people that have had success in our industry. That’s not the first time we’ve seen it. It’s not the last time we’re going to see it. As far as front offices with different layers that don’t exist in our organization, it’s a way to get more people in the organization.” Luhnow also pointed out the distinction between a city’s population and its market size and how that affects a franchise’s financial resources. Houston is “the fourth-largest city in the country, but we’re not the fourth-largest market in the country, not even close,” Luhnow remarked. “We’re not ever going to be a small market necessarily, but our revenues are not proportionate with our city size relative to other big metropolitan areas.”
In other news involving MLB’s West divisions:
- Some rival evaluators believe Andre Ethier is by far the most likely Dodgers outfielder to be traded, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, Los Angeles will weigh their options. Carl Crawford and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Matt Kemp, also appear to be trade candidates.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM (on Twitter) he will “listen” on Elvis Andrus because of the club’s infield depth. Texas also has middle infielders like Luis Sardinas, Jurickson Profar, and Rougned Odor in the fold.
- Daniels went on to say the Rangers‘ needs are at starting pitcher, catcher, left field, or DH and these vacancies are more likely to be solved via trade than free agency (link). Last month, our own Brad Johnson previewed the Rangers’ offseason.
- The Padres must consider trading one of their catchers (Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera, or propsect Austin Hedges) in order to improve their offense, opines Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Rangers middle infielder Jurickson Profar will (again) be shut down for a few months with the hope of bringing his shoulder issues to an end, writes Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Despite already missing all of this season, Profar remains a question mark heading into the offseason, according to GM Jon Daniels. “Bottom line is we’ve gone down a similar path before and [there is] definitely a level of frustration that we haven’t been able to get better answers and to get him back to this point,” said Daniels. He went on to say that it was premature to discuss whether Profar would have a big league roster spot next year: “That’s getting way ahead of ourselves. I wouldn’t even venture a guess. … That’s probably two or three steps beyond where we are right now.”
Here’s more from the AL West:
- Former Rangers star Michael Young has bowed out of consideration for the team’s managerial opening, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. After speaking with Daniels about the position, Young said he was honored to be considered but preferred to spend more time with his family at this stage.
- Third baseman Kyle Seager has put together a complete season for the Mariners, writes MLB.com’s Greg Johns. Manager Lloyd McClendon rightly credits the 26-year-old with taking the next step after very good 2012-13 campaigns. Indeed, his power output — 25 home runs and a .192 ISO — both rate within the top thirty in the game. Eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season, Seager should be in line for a handsome payday and certainly seems to be an intriguing extension candidate.
- The Angels could give righty Cory Rasmus a chance to earn a rotation spot next year, writes MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. Rasmus, 26, had been shifted to the bullpen full-time in the minors after battling injury issues, but his multiple quality offerings hold the promise of success as a starter. (He actually has five starts on the year, but those came in “bullpen games;” Rasmus has not gone past 59 pitches in any of them.) One of the team’s pleasant surprises this year, Rasmus has thrown 53 innings of 2.38 ERA ball, notching 9.2 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9.
Profar, 21, entered last season as the game’s consensus top overall prospect. He scuffled somewhat in his first sustained MLB action, hitting only .234/.308/.336 in 324 plate appearances, but was nevertheless expected to take the everyday job at second base after the Rangers dealt away Ian Kinsler. But ongoing right shoulder issues, including a recent setback, have conspired to keep Profar off the field in 2014.
Profar entered this season with 167 days of MLB service. Since he will accrue a full year of service time on the DL this year, Profar is almost certain to reach Super Two eligibility in 2016, provided he stays on the active roster for all of next season.
Earlier today we learned that Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder was “seriously considering” season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disc in his neck. Later, an afternoon conference call with Rangers GM Jon Daniels confirmed that the five-time All-Star will go ahead with that plan. Naturally, the injury to Fielder raised speculation from many that the Rangers could consider free agent Kendrys Morales. While Daniels didn’t refer to the former Mariners slugger directly, I asked him if he might consider making a notable out-of-house pickup to fill the void in the batting order.
“Not today, not right now,” Daniels said. “I think that our focus right now is on the group of guys [including the injured Jurickson Profar and Dan Robertson] that are going to come back…There’s a group of guys that are up here in the big leagues that have put together a few good games this week, and we want to see if we can build on that and then evaluate where we are and adjust if that time comes.”
The Rangers received $30MM from the Tigers to help cover part of Fielder’s deal, but with an Opening Day payroll north of $136MM, one might wonder if the owners are feeling tapped out. When I asked Daniels if he might be afforded some financial flexibility to make a significant out-of-house addition, he simply said that he’s not willing to divulge one way or another.
In addition to losing Fielder, the Rangers also got some bad news concerning Profar, who will be sidelined another 8 to 12 weeks thanks to the Grade 2 strain in his right arm. That’s similar to the timeline we initially heard on Profar in late March, but the clock has been reset and this time around his rehab process will be “even more conservative.” With the rash of injuries that the Rangers have had to deal with, Daniels had a hard time concealing his frustration.
“My reaction to the news unfortunately wasn’t surprise just because from talking to [Prince] and seeing him, we knew that this was serious. We were hoping the injection could keep him comfortable and get him through the season. Sometimes you have that response. His response was initially positive,” Daniels said. “The upside is that I’ve been told that this particular surgery has a high success rate. It doesn’t have the same level of risk that a lumbar [problem] of the lower back has in terms of how you use those two parts of the body and the weight you have to support. I’m looking forward to seeing this guy healthy and what he can do, but that’s more of a 2015 and beyond thing.”
The other silver lining, if there is one, is that Profar is not ticketed for surgery at this time. For Fielder, he’ll have to have a cervical fusion on his c5 and c6 vertebrae on Tuesday. One might wonder if the problem could have been caught if the Rangers had Fielder undergo a full physical after acquiring him, but Daniels says that a cervical MRI wouldn’t have been conducted anyway since there was no prior issue there.
It remains to be seen whether the Rangers will make a splashy move to help bolster their weakened lineup, but there’s no doubt that they’ll miss Fielder in 2014.
5:14pm: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers do have insurance on Fielder’s contract, but it likely won’t save them much in 2014. The policy pays out 50 cents on the dollar for every dollar owed past a certain time period, which is believed to be around 90 days. Grant estimates that the policy will save the Rangers a little north of $2MM this season.
4:48pm: Daniels also informed reporters that Profar has suffered a Grade 2 strain in his arm. While there’s no set timetable for his return, the recovery time is likely 8 to 12 weeks, according to Daniels.
4:40pm: GM Jon Daniels has informed reporters on a conference call that Fielder is scheduled for season-ending surgery next Tuesday. They will seek one final opinion before proceeding with the procedure, but surgery appears to be a near certainty. As Daniels explains, a cervical MRI — which is not part of any standard physical — would’ve been required to catch any such issue with Fielder.
2:49pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Fielder is also undergoing a second MRI today as he looks to determine the best course of action (Twitter link).
2:09pm: Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder is “seriously considering” undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Fielder received a root-nerve injection over the weekend and is meeting with spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett today instead of traveling to his former home of Comerica Park for the team’s series against the Tigers. While Fielder can hope that the injection provides some relief, it won’t change the fact that the herniated disc is still pinching a portion of the nerve in his neck, causing weakness in his left arm.
Losing Fielder for the season would be another blow to a Rangers team that has been beleaguered by injuries all season. The Rangers opened the season knowing that Derek Holland would miss the first half of the season, and since that time they’ve also seen Martin Perez go down with Tommy John surgery and Matt Harrison re-aggravate a back injury that now appears to be career-threatening. The team is also currently without Jurickson Profar and Geovany Soto — both of whom were expected to be regulars in manager Ron Washington’s lineup.
The Rangers acquired Fielder and $30MM from the Tigers in exchange for Ian Kinsler this winter in what was perhaps the biggest blockbuster of the offseason. Fielder is earning $24MM this season and will be paid the same amount each year through the 2020 campaign, though beginning in the 2016 season, Detroit will begin paying out its $30MM in installments of $6MM per year.
Fielder, acquired to bolster the Rangers’ lineup, has instead batted just .247/.360/.360 in 178 plate appearances. It’s hard to chalk up a major injury for Fielder to anything other than rotten luck for the Rangers, as Fielder had previously missed just one game in the past five seasons. He’d played in 157 games in each of full season of his career prior to this injury.
Should Fielder go down for the season, Mitch Moreland would likely shift back to first base and handle the position on an everyday basis. One has to wonder if a season-ending injury could cause the Rangers to reconsider a run at Kendrys Morales, who, like Fielder, is represented by Scott Boras. That, of course, is purely my own speculation at this point.
Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar has cleared a hurdle as he attempts to return from a torn muscle in his shoulder, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. He can now begin swinging a bat, and may be able to begin throwing within ten days. Profar is currently on the 60-day DL, and the Rangers have indicated he might return in early June. Profar’s return would provide a nice boost for the Rangers, who so far have gone with Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy at second base — one key component of Texas’ big offseason move of trading Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder and cash was opening a starting spot for Profar in what had been a crowded infield. Here are more quick notes on injuries.
- The list of pitchers requiring Tommy John surgery continues to grow. Next up is Pedro Figueroa of the Rangers, who will have Tommy John on Wednesday, according to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest (via Twitter). Last week, it was reported that doctors had diagnosed Figueroa with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The Rangers claimed Figueroa from the Rays in February.
- Speaking of injured pitchers, Yankees hurler Michael Pineda will have an MRI after leaving a simulated game with a sore lat muscle, Newsday’s David Lennon tweets. Pineda’s suspension for pine tar is due to end Monday, but the Yankees might be without him longer than that. If Pineda needs to miss additional time, David Phelps will continue to make starts in his place. (Pineda has a Grade 1 tear of his teres major, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted after this post was initially published. The teres major is a muscle in the back, near the shoulder. As Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan points out in a tweet, Pineda has had significant shoulder issues in the past. Pineda will reportedly miss three to four weeks.)
- Meanwhile, another Yankees pitcher, Ivan Nova, had Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes. Nova’s elbow troubles will keep him out until 2015. Nova had an 8.27 ERA in 20 2/3 innings before being shut down.
The Rangers have announced that infielder Jurickson Profar will miss 10-12 weeks with a muscle tear, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. The Rangers would prefer to look internally for a replacement, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The Rangers' big offseason trade of Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder and cash was based on the idea that Profar, once one of baseball's best prospects, would take over at second base. Now, though, the Rangers will need to turn to a backup plan. The Rangers do have an excellent second base prospect in Rougned Odor, but he just turned 20 and has played only 30 games above the Class A+ level.
The Cardinals and Rockies will discuss a potential Troy Tulowitzki trade at this week's GM/owner meetings, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports. The Cardinals have also asked the Rangers about the possibility of trading for Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, Passan writes.
The Cardinals' troubles at the shortstop position are well-known, as is the depth of their young talent, so potential Tulowitzki or Profar deals have long been the subjects of fan speculation. The Rockies have said they aren't interested in dealing Tulowitzki, but Passan suggests that Rockies ownership may be coming around to the idea of being out from under the $134MM remaining on Tulowitzki's contract, which carries through 2020 (with a club option for 2021).
Passan writes that one potential piece the Rockies might receive in return is first baseman Matt Adams, who so far has been blocked by Allen Craig in St. Louis. Adams hit .284/.335/.503 in part-time duty for the Cardinals this year. The Rockies would also like a pitcher — the Cardinals will not trade Michael Wacha, but Shelby Miller appears to be a possibility. Adams and Miller would highlight a package of three or four players that the Rockies might receive in return for Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki's contract stipulates that he receive a $2MM bonus if he is traded. Tulowitzki, 29, hit .312/.391/.540 and produced 5.6 wins above replacement in 2013, making him the best shortstop in baseball. His injury history may be a concern, however, given the length of his contract.