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Jurickson Profar Rumors
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.
Let's take a look at the latest from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who's out with a new column of rumors from around the majors:
- A trade of second baseman Ian Kinsler or shortstop Elvis Andrus increasingly looks "inevitable" given the Rangers' crowded infield. "Some team is going to get a good middle infielder from the Rangers. The only question is which one," Rosenthal writes. It's unlikely, however, that the club packages infielder Jurickson Profar with other young players in a deal for a star such as David Price or Giancarlo Stanton. Rosenthal's sources say the Rangers want to keep their farm system stocked.
- Matt Garza's elbow shouldn't scare off potential suitors. Though he missed much of 2012 with an elbow issue, officials with both the Cubs and Rangers tell Rosenthal that the righty wasn't treated for elbow issues at all in 2013.
- There's mutual interest in a new deal between Southern California native Jason Vargas and the Angels, but Rosenthal's sources say the team is already examining other options and could move on from the left-hander if negotiations drag. Vargas may ultimately have to leave money on the table if he wants to remain with the club.
- The Orioles are at least considering options for a backup catcher, as Matt Wieters managed just a .628 OPS against lefties last season. Rosenthal notes that the O's could seek to move Wieters and target a replacement such as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, as Wieters is unlikely to agree to an extension. However, trading him now would be selling low.
- Baltimore will also have to consider how they'll approach J.J. Hardy's impending free agency. Though Rosenthal writes that the Orioles' front office eventually aims to move Manny Machado to shortstop, it also views Hardy, who becomes a free agent after next season, as critical to the club.
- Executives from other teams are surprised at rumors that the Tigers are listening on Max Scherzer. Shipping Scherzer elsewhere and then losing Anibal Sanchez to an injury would be a major hit to the team's rotation.
- The Diamondbacks continue to wait for a reply from Dave Duncan on whether he will take their pitching coach job.
In a special piece for Gammons Daily, Jamey Newberg examines the Rangers disappearance from the international free agent market from 2000 to 2005 and explains how re-entering that market in the middle of the last decade has saved the franchise. Martin Perez signed in 2007 for more money ($580K) than any Rangers international signee had received since 2000. Yesterday, he signed a four-year extension that could total seven years and $32.55MM based on a trio of club options. Here's more on the Rangers…
- Newberg's piece above was inspired by an observation made by Nick J. Faleris of Baseball Prospectus (No. 11 on the list to which I've linked). Faleris points out the savvy nature of the Rangers' 2013-14 international spending spree. The Rangers blew past the new CBA's imposed cap for international free agents on the first day and will face harsh penalties that prevent them from spending more than $250K on a single international free agent next summer. However, starting in next year's international signing period, the penalty for the type of overages the Rangers took on this year doubles. In other words, any team that copies Texas' strategy will have its spending limit handcuffed in the summer of 2015 and the summer of 2016. The Cubs, of course, employed a similarly aggressive method in July.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels addressed reporters, including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, earlier today on a number of topics. Daniels said the team is receiving a number of calls on Mitch Moreland from teams that consider him a buy-low candidate. However as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweeted, Daniels doesn't feel Moreland's power is something he can give up on (Twitter link).
- Also from Sullivan's piece, Daniels said the team has made an offer to right-hander Colby Lewis (presumably a minor league deal), and they've been in contact with Nelson Cruz's agent, Adam Katz. The Rangers fully expect Cruz to decline his qualifying offer.
- Daniels says the Rangers are willing to disucss their middle infield depth with other clubs. Other teams still have high regard for Jurickson Profar, he added.
- ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett also has some intel from Daniels' morning comments. Durrett reports that the team has internally discussed position switches for some of their infielders but has yet to approach any players with the idea.
- Regarding the team's budget, Durrett quotes Daniels: "We have the ability to make the club better. I don’t know that we’re going to be the biggest spenders, but I don’t really want to be. I don’t think that’s the way to build it anyway."
Earlier today, Steve Adams profiled Rangers free agent Nelson Cruz. The outfielder, who missed 50 games in 2013 thanks to his ties to the Biogenesis clinic, should find a healthy market this winter with many teams in need of offense. Ultimately, Steve writes that Cruz could land a three-year, $39MM deal in free agency. Here's the latest out of Arlington..
- The Rangers have let other teams know they are willing to at least talk about one of their middle infielders — Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, or Jurickson Profar — in any trade discussions that come up this offseason, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Industry sources say the club doesn't feel a sense of urgency to move any of the three, but they're keeping an open mind as they have other areas of need to address. Texas has also made it clear to other teams they are not trying to dump Kinsler's salary and they won't pick up any part of the contract in order to facilitate a deal.
- After re-signing catcher Geovany Soto yesterday, Rangers GM Jon Daniels stated to reporters that Soto was expected to be the team's primary catcher in 2014. However, Brian McCann's agent, B.B. Abbott of Jet Sports Management, tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he doesn't think the signing precludes McCann from going to the Rangers. Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest pointed out yesterday (on Twitter) that Daniels made similar comments after signing Soto last season before going out and signing A.J. Pierzynski.
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News argues that the Soto signing actually makes a McCann signing more likely for the Rangers, as they now have a competent catcher to split time with McCann. Grant writes that the best way for McCann to match or surpass Yadier Molina's five-year, $75MM deal is to recognize the health risks associated with catching and accept a role in which he could start 70 games or so behind the plate plus another 70-80 games at DH.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.