The Rangers are receiving a “ton of calls” expressing interest in infielder Jurickson Profar, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Texas appears to be weighing whether it truly wants to part with the 23-year-old, but Sullivan hints that it’s at least a possibility in the right scenario.
Among the suitors, the Rays appear to stand out with interest. Tampa Bay has several potential starting pitching trade pieces that could be a fit, though Sullivan suggests that the Rangers may not value pitchers like Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore, and Drew Smyly highly enough to give up Profar.
Rotation help continues to stand out as the biggest need for Texas, though as Sullivan notes it’s also possible to imagine Profar being packaged in a deal for a catcher. That might be Jonathan Lucroy, he says, or perhaps an alternative backstop who matches Profar in terms of control and upside — though it isn’t easy to come up with any clear examples of such a player who might be available.
The real question underlying the decision for the Rangers, perhaps, is how to value Profar — both in general and with regard to roster fit. He only has three more years of control left, all via arbitration, because his prior injuries occurred when he was on the major league roster. And the team does have big-dollar shortstop Elvis Andrus around for the foreseeable future.
Still, it’s possible that Texas could view Profar as worthy of handling regular shortstop duties as soon as 2016, per the report. In that case, Andrus would likely move into the sort of utility role that Profar currently fills.
The Rangers have several other plausible trade pieces that it could utilize instead of Profar. Chief among them, perhaps, is slugger Joey Gallo. Like Profar, he seems ready to contribute at the major league level, but has veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. And similarly, he could be viewed as somewhat expendable — with Adrian Beltre now locked up at third base for another two years — or as an important future piece, given that he could step in at first base with Mitch Moreland departing.
What seems most clear from the report is that Texas won’t be moving Profar for anything short of a high-quality asset. That’s plenty understandable given his top-flight pedigree and .318/.366/.455 batting line in 142 plate appearances this year. The long-term health of his shoulder remains a concern, and the relatively short timeline of control limits his upside, but the Rangers surely have little reason to deal him if they aren’t able to get an impact player in return.