Posted on January 31, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine

Texas Rangers Jurickson Profar

image via cbssports.com

In the aftermath of last week’s trade of second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays are looking to replace him in their lineup. The trade of Forsythe has actually given the Rays quite a bit of flexibility to explore their options at multiple positions on both the free agent market and the trade market. One name to become connected to the Rays in recent days is Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar.

Reports out of Texas indicate that the Rays have at least checked in with the Rangers about Profar’s availability. Tampa Bay’s original plan for replacing Forsythe appears to be moving Brad Miller to second base and signing a first baseman off the free agent market to replace Miller at first base. However, acquiring a middle infielder like Profar to take over at second base and keeping Miller at first base is another option.

Profar was once among the highest rated prospects in baseball, but after struggling with injuries in 2014 and 2015, he’s had trouble establishing himself in the big leagues. He did, however, show some signs of promise in 90 games with the Rangers last season, his first big league action since 2013. If he were to have a full-time job in the majors, Profar may finally start to fulfill his potential, making him an intriguing option for a team like the Rays.

With the Rangers, Profar doesn’t appear to have a set position. Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor appear to be locked into the two middle infield spots long term, and so Profar may end up getting most of his at bats in 2017 as a first baseman or DH, while also backing up the other three infield spots. That’s not exactly an ideal plan for a player who’s not a natural first baseman and who needs regular playing time if he’s going to continue to develop as a major league player. As a result, he could become an interesting trade chip for the Rangers.

That being said, the Rangers know that Profar’s ceiling is high and won’t trade him without getting something substantial in return. Over the past year, the Rangers have been linked to Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi, who the Rays are open to trading¬†before the start of the season. However, a one-for-one trade involving Profar and Odorizzi seems unlikely.

It’s more likely that the Rangers could acquire pitching prospects in exchange for Profar. The Rays have quite a few prospects who should be major league ready within the next year, while the Rangers would be wise to restock their farm system after making several trades last summer.

One interesting figure who could be affected by Profar being traded to the Rays is Mike Napoli, who has been connected to both the Rays and Rangers in recent weeks. If the Rays don’t make a trade to replace Forsythe, they may be able to sign Napoli to fill their void at first base. At the same time, the Rangers trading Profar could make them feel more comfortable signing Napoli to spend time at first base and DH, as there would no longer be a need to get Profar at bats at those positions.

How serious talks have been between the Rays and Rangers is uncertain, but the idea of trading Profar to the Rays makes sense for all parties. Tampa Bay is poised to do something to upgrade its lineup before the start of the season, and Profar appears to be at least one of the options they’re considering.

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