The Padres have signed Jurickson Profar to a minor league deal, reports Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The outfielder, who was released by the Rockies earlier this week, will report to Triple-A El Paso.
Profar, 30, was with the Padres from 2020 to 2022 but opted out of his contract at the end of last year. He eventually landed with the Rockies on a one-year, $7.75MM deal but never really got into a good groove with Colorado. In 111 games this year, he hit .236/.316/.364 for a wRC+ of 72, the latest low point in his up-and-down career. The Rox are buried in the standings and cut Profar loose to get a look at younger players with control beyond this season.
The Padres aren’t too far ahead of the Rockies but have a slightly higher chance of salvaging their season. At 62-73, they are 8.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. FanGraphs gives them a 0.5% chance of making the playoffs while Baseball Prospectus is slightly more optimistic at 2.1%.
The Rockies are on the hook for what’s left of Profar’s salary, so there’s no risk for the Padres in bringing Profar back into the fold as non-roster veteran depth. If they add him to the big league club at any point, they would only have to pay him the prorated league minimum for the time spent on the roster, with that amount subtracted from what the Rockies pay. Active rosters expand from 26 to 28 today but Profar would have to be added to the 40-man before taking one of those slots.
Profar has played all over the diamond in his career but has exclusively been in left field since the end of the 2021 campaign. Juan Soto is the regular in left for San Diego but he could perhaps get some time off as the season winds down, or bump Matt Carpenter from the designated hitter slot. José Azocar and Ben Gamel are already on the roster as depth outfielders.
It seems that Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller and Profar just can’t quit each other. Preller was with the Rangers when that club signed Profar as an amateur back in 2009. Preller eventually jumped to the Padres and acquired Profar from the A’s after the 2019 season. Profar reached free agency after 2020 but re-signed on a three-year deal. He opted out of the final year of that deal, though he says he didn’t want to, and is now back with the Friars and Preller again.