10:57am: Most teams have at least checked in on Profar’s availability, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Grant, however, adds that he finds it likelier that Profar would be part of a larger deal than this and/or that the Rangers would wait until deeper into the offseason to make a move.
10:01am: The Yankees have interest in swinging a deal for Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar in the next few days, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yanks are a surprising entrant into Profar’s list of potential suitors given their considerable infield depth. New York has Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Starlin Castro at second base and Chase Headley at third, with Ronald Torreyes in a utility role and well-regarded prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar on the cusp of MLB-readiness. Young Tyler Wade represents another utility option that is already on the 40-man roster.
Nonetheless, Sherman notes, the Yankees are intrigued by the idea of adding the game’s former No. 1 overall prospect in exchange for some of the pitchers on the fringes of their 40-man roster as they look to set that 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. The deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft will come on Monday. Names like Bryan Mitchell, Caleb Smith, Luis Cessa and Chasen Shreve are among those listed by Sherman as possible players on the Yankees’ 40-man bubble.
Profar has long been an obvious trade candidate. The Rangers have Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Adrian Beltre at third base, and they committed to Rougned Odor as their long-term second baseman last offseason by signing him to a $49.5MM extension. While both Beltre and Andrus could leave the Rangers after next season — Beltre’s contract runs through 2018, while Andrus has an opt-out next offseason — the Rangers don’t have much of a spot for Profar in the interim. He’s out of minor league options and hasn’t thrived in a utility role in recent seasons.
The Rangers, furthermore, need starting pitching depth more than almost any other club in the Majors. Their rotation options beyond Cole Hamels and Martin Perez (neither of whom was impressive in 2017) are sparse, at best. If the Yankees like the idea lessening their 40-man crunch by condensing two arms into a single player with greater individual upside, then Profar certainly makes some degree of sense.
Of course, it remains to be seen just how Profar would fit into their plans. He’s controllable for another three seasons but cannot be optioned to the minors, meaning he’d leapfrog one of Torreyes or Wade on the current depth chart. Neither Torreyes nor Wade has proven himself to be an especially potent bat in the Majors, though the same can be true of Profar. That said, Profar was once considered baseball’s best prospect before a pair of shoulder surgeries wiped out two years of his career, and he did hit .287/.383/.428 in 383 Triple-A plate appearances this season. The Yankees may very well relish the notion of acquiring a player they can slot in at any position on the infield if he comes with greater offensive upside than either of their currently projected utility candidates.