The Profar Conundrum
The Rangers don’t have to make a decision about what to do with Profar today, this week, or even this month, but they also won’t have the luxury of waiting forever. Now that Andrus will remain a Ranger for many seasons to come, there are only a few viable options available to the team regarding baseball’s top prospect. In all likelihood, one of the following three choices will be made by the Rangers’ front office sometime before the start of the 2014 season – quite possibly by this season’s trade deadline:
As the consensus #1 prospect in all of baseball, Jurickson Profar has extremely high trade value. And if the Rangers find themselves experiencing certain issues around the midpoint of the season that could be addressed by adding a very specific piece to the roster, this could be the scenario that plays out at the trade deadline. For this situation to take place, the Rangers’ needs would most likely be either outfield (the long-anticipated Nelson Cruz PED suspension happens and exacerbates the power void left by Josh Hamilton’s offseason departure) or starting pitching (perhaps Colby Lewis and/or Martin Perez don’t successfully return from their injuries, or Derek Holland’s past inconsistency becomes ongoing ineffectiveness).
The two names most often mentioned in a potential Profar deal are Tampa Bay’s David Price and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton. One of the main variables here concerns how each of their respective current teams perform over the first half of the season. Price would probably only become available if the Rays massively underachieve and fall out of contention by mid-season, which seems highly unlikely. And while Marlins ownership has repeatedly insisted they will not trade Stanton, that team has virtually no chance of contending this year, mainly because they’ve already traded most of their other good players.
Percentage chance of happening: 45%
2. Trade Kinsler
Although Ian Kinsler likely doesn’t have the same trade value as Profar, due to such factors as age, salary, and ceiling, he certainly should have enough value to be a viable chip at the trade deadline. If the Rangers find themselves sliding in the standings a couple of months into the season, and Profar happens to be tearing the cover off the ball at Round Rock during that same timeframe, he could be viewed as a desperately-needed spark to the big club’s lineup.
If Kinsler happens to be one of the main culprits in the team’s (hypothetical) early season struggles, both in the field and at the plate, while Mitch Moreland manages to hold his own at first base, the Rangers’ front office could decide trading Kinsler is their best option. Whereas trading Profar would be to improve the team by adding a specifically-needed proven veteran player, trading Kinsler would be to improve the team by creating a spot for an extremely talented and energetic X-factor (Profar, of course).
Percentage chance of happening: 25%
3. Keep Both
Of the three options, this on the surface seems to be the least likely scenario, but it may not be as unlikely as you might think. There are two key factors which would have to occur for this to happen, both involving first base. First and foremost, Kinsler would have to be convinced that switching positions is in both his best interest and those of the franchise. He has previously indicated an unwillingness to do so – at least not until later in his career – but perhaps he can be persuaded to change his mind.
Especially if the second key factor comes into play, which is if Moreland’s slow start extends into a prolonged slump. Should management become convinced that Moreland is not the long-term answer at first base, Kinsler seems the likeliest in-house candidate to fill that void. At this point in his career, Lance Berkman is really only capable of spot duty at first, so he wouldn’t be a viable option.
Percentage chance of happening: 30%
A prospect with Profar’s seemingly limitless potential is wonderful for the Rangers to have in their organization. Ultimately, they will have to base their decision on what is in the best interest of the club. It’s too soon to tell right now whether that will be focused more on immediate gratification (going all-in for a championship chase this season) or long-term security (solidifying their chances to remain in contention for years to come). Whatever they decide, it should be exciting and will definitely be interesting.