The Profar/Greinke Hypothetical

**ORIGINAL POST DATE 6/28/12**

 

You have probably seen, heard, or read somewhere that the Rangers sent a scout to Cincinnati to watch Zack Greinke pitch against the Reds. You may have also been informed that Greinke is going to be available this year at the trade deadline if the Brewers are unable to sign him to a long-term extension. Therefore, through the elementary process of 1+1=2, you’ve been told or have deduced that the Rangers might be making a push to trade for Zack Greinke this season.
As this deduction has evolved into a rumor and now formed into a news story, speculation has begun as to what the Rangers would have to trade to land Zack Greinke. The situation is rather complicated. Greinke may be just a three-month rental, as he is a free agent after this season (see: Cliff Lee, 2010). The Brewers, and only the Brewers under the new CBA rules, would receive two draft picks as compensation for Greinke leaving in free agency this year. So, whatever trade offer is made for Greinke, it would need to be significantly better than what Milwaukee might expect to land in next year’s draft with those two draft picks (either a first or second round pick, and a supplemental first). In a market where several teams have had injuries to their starting pitching, and there will be very few available pitchers of the caliber of a Greinke, the Brewers should have no issues fielding offers with packages of prospects to meet their demands.

For many Rangers fans, when it comes to determining which prospects might need to be included in such a deal for a big name like Greinke, there are two names that jump to the front of the discussion: Profar and Olt. Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt are the Rangers trump cards. They’re the stud double-A shortstop and third baseman that nearly every team in the league would covet in a trade with the Rangers, and if their name is included in a trade proposal, you can be certain it’s a big deal.

For Greinke, who is a rental with no guarantee of a long-term commitment, it makes little sense to trade Olt, and even less sense to trade Profar. Yet, trading Profar for Greinke was the very idea I heard proposed on The Ticket radio station in Dallas this morning. To be clear, trading Profar for Greinke would be trading the Rangers best prospect, a 19-year old shortstop for a starting pitcher who might leave for free agency. Then, after the 2014 season, it is very possible that Elvis Andrus will sign with another team in free agency as well, effectively taking the Rangers from having two very young, very talented, foundational shortstops to zero, all for the pursuit of the use of three months of a top of the rotation starter. I would say no to that deal 1,000 times out of 1,000. Profar is too valuable, and adding Greinke wouldn’t make the Rangers winning the World Series a sure thing. He would be an upgrade to the rotation, but not in a huge way, and there are concerns over his postseason performances given his history of anxiety issues.

However, what if somehow, some way, you were guaranteed that the Rangers would win the 2012 World Series if they traded Profar for Greinke? There is no guarantee about what happens with Greinke in free agency, or Andrus, but for this year, it guarantees a World Series. It isn’t guaranteed that the Rangers don’t win the World Series if they don’t trade for Greinke; you’d be rolling the dice there. Bottom line: if you traded Profar for Greinke, you would be guaranteed a World Series win this year. Would you do it?

World Series victories are the ultimate goal, and the Rangers have never won one, despite being on the doorstep of doing so in two consecutive years. Trading Profar, watching Greinke walk, and losing Andrus to free agency would significantly handicap the future of the Rangers for the next five, seven, or ten years. However, flags fly forever, so would it be worth it to mortgage the Rangers future for a guarantee of a World Series victory this year?

Even with the guarantee, I don’t think I could pull the trigger on that deal. There is a short list of players for which I would headline a trade package with Profar, and Greinke is not on that list. I am not a believer in Profar being the Rangers’ Messiah, but by all accounts he is incredibly special and has all of the tangible and intangible tools to be the core and leader of a team for many years. Elvis Andrus is one of my favorite Rangers to watch play ball today, but Profar may wind up being even better than Andrus. There is no guarantee of future years’ success, but with Profar at the center of this team it is a possibility that Texas becomes a dynasty, a contender every year, and may even win multiple championships in the future. Again, there is no guarantee, but the hope of that future is worth more to me than the certainty of a championship in the present.

Peter Ellwood is a Senior Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can email him at Peter.Ellwood@shutdowninning.com or reach him on Twitter @Peter_Ellwood
Peter Ellwood

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