Jurickson Profar Rumors

Rangers Notes: Kinsler, Profar, Cruz, Garza, Salty

The Rangers have been the most active buyer in baseball this season, trading prospects Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm and Leury Garcia to bring in Matt Garza and Alex Rios. In his latest Rangers Inbox, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan tackles a host of issues regarding the future of the team's roster…

  • Jurickson Profar could stay in his utility role for another season and ultimately transition to third base as Adrian Beltre moves into a DH role in two years, writes Sullivan. It's also possible that GM Jon Daniels discusses trades of Kinsler this offseason, as the four years and $57MM remaining on his contract will look like a bargain with the rising price of second basemen (Sullivan points to Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano as comparisons).
  • Sullivan guesses the Rangers will make Nelson Cruz a qualifying offer at season's end. If Cruz accepts the offer or expresses interest in working out a new contract, they're prepared to move forward with him as their designated hitter in 2014.
  • The club's interest in re-signing Matt Garza will be linked to the health of Matt Harrison. The team could also re-sign Colby Lewis. Nick Tepesch and Josh Lindblom are currently the leading candidates to be the fifth starter, as Neftali Feliz looks to be headed back to a bullpen role.
  • The Rangers aren't likely to pursue Jarrod Saltalamacchia as a free agent despite their needs at catcher. As Sullivan writes, "That bridge appears quite charred in both directions."

AL Central Links: Tigers, Rzepczynski, Sox, Royals

The Twins demoted one top prospect today in favor of another, sending Aaron Hicks to Rochester and recalling Oswaldo Arcia to take his place. The moves came on the heels of another loss to the streaking Royals, who have snapped off nine consecutive wins and are 4.5 games back from a Wild Card spot. Here's more out of the AL Central…

  • It's no coincidence that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has a history of making significant moves at the trade deadline and a history of gettting his team to the postseason, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler writes that the Tigers have long coveted the recently acquired Jose Iglesias, and Dombrowski's persistent inquiries made Detroit a natural fit for a third team when the Red Sox and White Sox initially struggled to make a Jake Peavy deal.
  • Knobler also notes that Dombrowski tried many times to acquire Jurickson Profar from the Rangers with packages fronted by Avisail Garcia but came up empty.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti was happy to acquire a left-handed reliever who has thrived against opposing lefties and also has postseason experience in Marc Rzepczynski, he told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The Tribe looked at many other ways to upgrade, but found the asking prices too high. Manager Terry Francona told Bastian that he merely rolled his eyes and said "Oh my goodness," at the alarming asking prices for players in which the Indians had interest.
  • White Sox general manager Rick Hahn conceded to MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he nearly pulled off a last-minute deadline deal before the other team suddenly changed its asking price. Hahn said he received a text message 45 minutes prior to the deadline and spent the next 35 minutes or so working on the specifics, and it got to the point where he informed chairman Jerry Reinsdorf that it was close to happening. Hahn did not specify which player(s) were on the table.
  • The Royals will be active players on the August trade/waiver market, writes Dick Kaegel of MLB.com. Kaegel spoke with GM Dayton Moore, who told him: "There are two months left to the baseball season and there's potentially the opportunity to improve our team. So we're going to continue to evaluate and look for ways to upgrade."

Rosenthal On Padres, Norris, Profar, Miller

Ken Rosenthal shares a few hot stove-related items in his latest column for FOX Sports…

  • The Padres are known to be looking for starting pitching, and Rosenthal notes that San Diego would prefer to pick up a younger starter who is signed beyond this season.  An exception could be Ricky Nolasco, as Rosenthal repeated his suggestion from yesterday that Nolasco could be open to re-signing with the Padres given that the pending free agent hails from southern California.
  • Astros right-hander Bud Norris is cited as one of the controllable younger arms that fits the mold of what the Padres are looking for, though one rival executive thinks Norris "isn’t the best bet to make a team leap forward.  Will he help a team improve? Yes. Would I stamp him as a difference-maker? Not a definite.”  Norris has been connected to the Pirates, Giants and Orioles in trade speculation and I profiled him as a trade candidate last month.
  • While the Rangers could use some outfield help, the decision to use Jurickson Profar as an outfielder is somewhat risky, Rosenthal opines.  Profar is learning a new position on the fly and has yet to deliver much at the plate in his brief Major League career.  If he struggles, he'll lose some trade value if the Rangers decide to move him, and the team may also have more trouble convincing Ian Kinsler to eventually move to the outfield to make room for Profar at second base.
  • The Astros had an arrangement in place to draft Shelby Miller with the 21st overall pick of the 2009 draft, Miller tells Rosenthal, except the Cardinals took Miller with the 19th pick.  Miller, a Texas native, was also managed by a Rangers scout during a high school showcase event but the Rangers passed on Miller with their 14th overall pick in the draft and instead took righty Matt Purke, who never signed with the club.
  • The Jordan Walden-for-Tommy Hanson trade is looking like "a steal" for the Braves, in the words of one rival executive.  Walden has been a force (2.70 ERA, 10 K/9, 6.50 K/BB rate in 23 1/3 IP) out of the Atlanta bullpen while Hanson has battled injuries and posted a 5.10 ERA over nine starts with the Angels.


Quick Hits: Profar, Rodriguez, Kawasaki, Cubs

The Rangers should seriously consider trading Jurickson Profar, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Galloway argues that, despite Davis' strong 2012 and brilliant start in 2013, he won't criticize Jon Daniels' 2011 trade of Chris Davis (and Tommy Hunter) for Koji Uehara, because the trade was intended to position Texas for a World Series run, and the Rangers did in fact make it to the World Series. If the Rangers can arrange a Profar trade that sets them up for another run at a title, Galloway argues that they should make the deal and live with the results. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, however, tells ESPN's Jim Bowden that, while the Rangers will likely be active at this year's trade deadline, they plan to keep Profar, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, rather than dealing one of them (both links via Twitter).

As a side note, Galloway calls the Davis/Uehara deal "the worst MLB trade of this decade," even though he refrains from criticizing Daniels for it. Uehara was excellent for the Rangers, particularly in 2012, but he's since moved on, and Davis is currently hitting .357/.440/.754 with 20 home runs for the Orioles. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman discusses Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract in an interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. Rodriguez and the Yankees are currently in the sixth year of the deal, and Rodriguez will make $86MM from 2014 through 2017. Rodriguez has not yet played in 2013. "Alex would even tell you he couldn't live up to [the contract]," Cashman says. "Hopefully he can return to being, at the very least, an above-average player at that position."
  • When Jose Reyes returns, the Blue Jays will have to decide what to do with Munenori Kawasaki, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. Due to the Jays' contractual obligations to Maicer Izturis and the presence of Emilio Bonifacio and Mark DeRosa, there would appear to be no space for Kawasaki once Reyes returns. Griffin suggests that the trade market for Izturis could be better than that of Kawasaki, though the Jays might have to pay some of the approximately $9MM remaining on Izturis' contract.
  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum is hoping for an infusion of arms in this week's draft, Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports. "Obviously pitching is what you want to get in the organization as much as you possibly can," says Sveum. When the Cubs make the No. 2 overall selection, either Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray or Stanford's Mark Appel, or perhaps both, will still be on the board.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan discusses the role of general managers in the draft in an interview with 1500ESPN's Phil Mackey. GMs generally get credit or blame for their draft picks, but other front office personnel may be more responsible for those picks. "My role would be to take the blame when we don't do well, but I also get the praise when we do well. That's not fair," says Ryan. For example, Ryan discusses his role in the selection of Ben Revere, the No. 28 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. "That's a pick that I got praise for I think at the time. I didn't have anything to do with Ben Revere. (Our scouts) did. They all had seen him a lot. I get the praise. 'Good pick, there you go Terry.' Hell, I never even saw (Revere)."
  • Quintin Berry, who was recently designated for assignment by the Tigers, could make it through waivers and wind up back with Triple-A Toledo, MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets. Given that Berry is 28 and has hit just .168/.278/.234 so far for Toledo this season, that seems to be a fairly likely scenario.
  • When the Blue Jays begin a series in San Francisco Tuesday night, Melky Cabrera will face Giants fans for the first time since being suspended last August for failing a PED test, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports. Cabrera vanished after receiving word of the suspension, not talking to the San Francisco media. He then signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Jays in the offseason. Cabrera says he isn't concerned with how the fans will react to his return. "I don't worry about that, it's up to the fans. It's nothing I have control of," Cabrera explains. "I'm just going to play the game. If they decide to boo, that's fine. If they decide to cheer, that's fine with me, too. But, I'm not going to worry about that."

AL West Notes: Profar, Astros, Mariners

The Rangers have placed Ian Kinsler on the disabled list with an intercostal strain and recalled middle infielder and top prospect Jurickson Profar, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. Profar already had a cup of coffee last September, collecting 17 big-league at-bats. But the promotion of the No. 1 player on recent top prospect listings from Baseball America, Keith Law, and MLB.com is cause for excitement. The Baseball America Prospect Handbook praises Profar's all-around game, particularly his bat speed, plate discipline and defense, noting that "Profar may not have the most power, the most speed or the strongest arm on the field, but he's typically the best player out there."

Profar, 20, has hit .278/.370/.438 for Triple-A Round Rock so far this year. He is already on the 40-man roster. If he sticks in the big leagues, he would be eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, and he would be a Super Two player, meaning that he would be arbitration-eligible after the 2015 season. Super Two status would only be an issue if the Rangers kept Profar in the big leagues much of the rest of the season, however, and it remains to be seen what they will do with Profar once Kinsler returns from injury.

Here are more notes from the AL West.

  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane watched a potential draft pick in Chapel Hill Saturday (likely UNC third baseman Colin Moran), and Luhnow says he's pleased that Crane came along, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. "We don't comment on Draft-eligible players for obvious reasons, but we continue to put in a lot of time against it, and it was great Jim was willing to go out and see a player with his own eyes," says Luhnow. "We might try another couple before it's all said and done."
  • The Mariners blew it by missing out on Michael Bourn this winter, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times argues. "[T]he Bourn thing, for me, is a classic example of how this rebuilding process has played out for the Mariners," says Baker. "It’s taken a long time to get where we are and I do think we could have seen some better baseball a bit quicker had the Mariners spent some dough this winter and in prior ones to shore-up where they were lacking." Bourn is hitting .311/.363/.473 and has been a key contributor to one of baseball's best offenses with the Indians, while the Mariners have the worst offense in the American League. The Mariners do have the No. 12 overall pick in the upcoming draft, however, and they would have had to forfeit that pick if they had signed Bourn.

Cardinals Links: Bullpen, Taveras

The Cardinals entered play Monday with the worst bullpen ERA in baseball following the early injury to closer Jason Motte. Here's more regarding the Redbirds…

  • Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted yesterday that he's hearing rumblings of an April/May trade for the Cardinals that may have some legs. Strauss appeared with Tim McKernan on AM 590 radio this morning to discuss the St. Louis bullpen in greater depth, and added that more details regarding the potential trade could come to life in the coming weeks.
  • Strauss' colleague Bernie Miklasz writes that GM John Mozeliak has resolved disastrous bullpen situations before and may be forced to do so again in 2013. In addition to a trade, he lists flipping the roles of Joe Kelly and Mitchell Boggs or moving Lance Lynn to the 'pen and recalling a starter from the minors.
  • More from the Post-Dispatch, as Derrick Goold discusses the Jurickson Profar-for-Oscar Taveras swap that many pundits have suggested. Goold writes that neither GM could afford to be the one who ended up losing in that trade. One AL official told Goold, "Then you’re the new [Lou] Brock-for-[Ernie] Broglio guy.” Goold also adds one NL official's opinion that he "wouldn't trade Taveras for two Profars."

Poll: Should Rangers Trade Profar For Taveras?

The Rangers and Cardinals have not discussed the possibility of trading top shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar for top outfield prospect Oscar Taveras, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. A trade of the two teams' No. 1 prospects would make a great deal of sense in terms of those teams' needs, but it would be tough to pull off. "The Cardinals need a shortstop. The Rangers need an outfielder. The answer is there for both for years to come," one American League official tells Goold. "You just can’t do it. You can’t be the guy who is wrong if one works out and becomes a star as expected and the other doesn’t. Then you’re the new Brock-for-Broglio guy."

Nonetheless, it's a tantalizing trade idea. Deals centered around two highly-touted youngsters happen very rarely, but they're exciting when they do. The Rays' trade of Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie to Minnesota for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan is one of the few recent examples. In any case, it doesn't sound like the Profar-for-Taveras deal is in the offing. "[T]he reality is we have just gotten to the point we wanted with our farm system — with more elite talent back and set to contribute to the major-league club," says Cardinals GM John Mozeliak. "I’m not in the mood to start breaking it up."

Should this deal happen, though? In Profar, the Cardinals would get a long-term answer at shortstop, where they're currently starting Pete Kozma. Meanwhile, the Rangers would acquire a premium hitting prospect at a position that isn't shortstop, where they have Elvis Andrus signed to a long-term deal.

Profar and Taveras are too valuable for positional need to be the most important variable when considering a trade. After all, an injury easily could clear a spot for either player in his current organization, and positional logjams tend to resolve themselves over time. The Cardinals could deal an outfielder, or lose one to injury. The Rangers could eventually move Ian Kinsler to first. Before trading Profar or Taveras, you would need to be confident the other was the better player. Taveras has had the better hitting numbers, but Profar is younger and plays the tougher defensive position. Scouts love both of them, comparing Profar to Barry Larkin and Taveras to Vladimir Guerrero.

Let's consider the deal from the Rangers' perspective. If you were Rangers GM Jon Daniels, would you trade Profar for Oscar Taveras?



Quick Hits: Borbon, Cubs, Rendon, Profar

Here are a few notes from around baseball:

  • The Orioles have had ongoing discussions with the Rangers about trading for outfielder Julio Borbonwrites MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. Borbon will need to be placed on outright waivers by 2pm ET tomorrow if he is not traded beforehand, but the Rangers appear confident that they will strike a deal. While Texas is interested in a major league capable pitcher with options, the Orioles are reluctant to give up arms and are waiting for the asking price to drop. For the O's, Borbon would bring depth, speed, and another lefty bat in the outfield mix. 
  • The Mets and Astros have also expressed interest in Borbon, Ghiroli further reports. Both clubs entered the season with among the least-entrenched outfield mixes in baseball.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke about what the club's Wrigley Field renovation deal could mean for the quality of the squad that takes the field at the friendly confines, as reported by Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. According to Epstein, the club "need[s] revenues to increase in order for us to execute our baseball plan. We expect them to [increase]." Epstein added: "We are not where we want to be right now from a revenue standpoint and therefore we are not where we want to be from a payroll standpoint." While Epstein said that revenue was not the sole "determining factor in our success," he needs it to allow the front office to supplement homegrown talent with "some aggression in free agency."
  • For his part, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says that, "if [the deal] is approved, we will win the World Series." As Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times explains, however, there is some cause for skepticism. The Cubs' ownership has continued to push out its promised timeline for a championship. And with the Cubs topping Forbes' list of most profitable franchises in 2012, Wittenmyer questions Ricketts' continued unwillingness to be more specific about when and to what extent the budget will expand. 
  • Most big league second baggers do not start out at the position. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that several teams are considering moving big-name young players to second base, with major potential hot stove implications. ESPN's Keith Law (on ESPN Insider) broke down the possible in-season transition of the Blue Jays' Brett Lawrie, as well as two prospects who are keystone candidates: Anthony Rendon of the Nationals and Jurickson Profar of the Rangers. A Lawrie move would be motivated by gaps elsewhere in the Jays' lineup, with the primary impact being on Toronto's affirmative trade plans. The two highly-rated prospects, on the other hand, find themselves blocked at their natural positions. For Rendon and Profar, then, a move to second could be the only viable alternative to an eventual trade. 
  • With Rendon presumably blocked by Ryan Zimmerman at his natural third base, and with a Zimmerman move to first blocked for at least two seasons by Adam LaRoche, a switch to second seems attractive at first blush. Rendon is known as a very good fielder, and may soon be knocking on the door after starting the year destroying Double-A pitching. But even putting aside the presence of young incumbent Danny Espinosa, Law says that Rendon's lack of agility and suspect ankles should preclude such a move. Unless some drastic change intervenes — Zimmerman's throwing woes worsen; the NL adopts the DH; unforeseen injury — the Nationals could be forced to consider dealing Rendon after this season. 
  • On the other hand, Law explains that the shortstop Profar, blocked by Elvis Andrus, can certainly handle second. But he would be less valuable there, and the Rangers would need to convince Ian Kinsler to become a first baseman or outfielder. Law goes so far as to suggest that Profar has the capacity to be shifted to centerfield, despite having never seen time in the outfield as a professional. Of course, Profar has already established his value at a premium defensive position. Such a move would not only be risky, but would keep Profar out of the big league lineup for longer while he adapted to a totally new position. Law says that bringing Profar up to man second would add value to the Rangers right now. Certainly, if the club is unwilling to make such a move this season, it is reasonable to wonder (as many have) whether Texas might instead dangle Profar as the centerpiece of a blockbuster deal to acquire a top-flight starter or outfielder.

Quick Hits: Robinson, Andrus, Profar, Appel

Sixty-six years ago today, Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier when he made his Major League debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After an 0-for-3 debut, Robinson went on to hit .297/.383/.427 with 12 home runs, a league-leading 29 stolen bases and won Rookie of the Year honors. As MLB.com's Richard Justice writes, the movie "42" introduces Robinson to a new generation of Americans and helps to immortalize the legacy of one of America's most courageous figures: "Robinson paid an incomprehensible price in the pain he endured and the responsibility he carried," writes Justice.

Baseball as we know it would not be the same were it not for Robinson's courage, talent and perseverance. Here's a look at some news from around the league on Jackie Robinson day…

  • In his latest MLB.com mailbag, T.R. Sullivan writes that the Elvis Andrus extension, while risky for the Rangers, is still beneficial to the team. He credits Scott Boras for "astutely putting risk" on Texas.
  • Within that same piece, Sullivan writes that the Rangers would trade a package of prospects highlighted by Jurickson Profar "in the blink of an eye" if it meant landing David Price from the Rays or Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America feels that Mark Appel has plenty of leverage in the upcoming draft and will likely sign a bonus in the $6MM neighborhood. As Callis notes, teams can't risk offering something like a $5MM "take it or leave it" offer and signing the rest of their picks. Doing so could ultimately lead to paying over slot to sign Appel, costing them future picks. It's in the best interest of whoever drafts Appel to sign him first, and doing so could prove highly expensive.
  • Callis also notes that Appel and Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray have established themselves as the clear-cut top two prospects in the draft.
  • Major League Baseball is making progress on its investigation of the Biogenesis scandal, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, it appears MLB is looking for "a smoking gun" before taking what could be its only chance to question players such as Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun who have been connected to the Miami clinic. Heyman confirms that MLB has purchased Biogenesis documentation, but notes that the MLBPA will be sure to question documents that were produced after a cash transaction.

Quick Hits: Tigers, Harvey, Isringhausen, Int’l Money

The Yankees turned the first 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play in Major League history tonight in the eighth inning of their 5-2 win over the Orioles.  Manny Machado was the unlucky Oriole who put the ball into play and he represented the third out while he was caught between first and second base.

Here are some news items from around the majors as we head into the weekend…

  • Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has spoken to an opposing GM about a closer within the last week, Dombrowski told Jim Bowden during an interview on MLB Network Radio (Twitter link).
  • The Mets haven't had any internal discussions about offering Matt Harvey an extension, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reports, and likely won't do so until after the season at the earliest.  Costa hears from a team of business students who project a four- or five-year deal worth $30-$35MM following the 2014 season as a fair possible extension for Harvey, though Costa wonders if Harvey (and agent Scott Boras) would agree to such a contract.
  • Jason Isringhausen hasn't officially retired since he is open to pitching again in the right situation, but the veteran reliever tells FOX Sports Midwest's Ben Frederickson that "as of last year, I left on my terms. So, if it never happens again, I'm perfectly happy."
  • Now that teams can trade from their pools of international bonus money, Baseball America's Ben Badler looks at which clubs might look to acquire or sell some of their funds this summer.
  • In an ESPN Insider piece (subscription required), Jim Bowden discusses why he thinks a Jurickson Profar-for-Oscar Taveras deal would work for both the Rangers and Cardinals.  Such a swap would be what Bowden calls a "challenge" trade that can shape a franchise, akin to the one he made as Reds GM in 1992 when he dealt Paul O'Neill to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly.  Of course, as Bowden notes, that deal backfired badly for him: "True, that O’Neill-for-Kelly deal will haunt me to my grave, but it was the gutsiest trade I’ve ever made."
  • A Profar-for-Taveras deal wouldn't make sense for the Rangers at this time, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett opines.  Rather than deal for another prospect, Durrett argues Texas could move Profar as part of a package for a proven Major League star like David Price or Giancarlo Stanton.  Or, the Rangers could simply keep Profar for themselves and instead move Ian Kinsler to first base or the outfield to make room.