Although unanimous top-prospect Jurickson Profar is ready for an everyday role in the major leagues, the Texas Rangers simply have nowhere to play him.
Blocked at both middle infield positions by Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, respectively, the organization decided to send their phenom to Triple-A to open the 2013 season to ensure he receives regular playing time.
However, Profar’s long-term future with the Rangers may have been drastically altered late on Sunday night, as the organization announced an eight-year, $120 million contract extension with Andrus (via CBSSports). Including the remaining three years on his current contract, he will make approximately $131.275 million over the next 10 seasons and is now under team control through 2022. Meanwhile, Kinsler is locked up through the 2017 season with an option for 2018.
As for Profar, the Andrus extension could impact the 20-year-old’s future in several different ways.
Kinsler Changes Positions
Barring an injury to either Andrus or Kinsler, Profar will, in theory, be blocked at both middle infield positions until 2018. However, given the youngster’s prowess on both sides of the ball, it’s incredibly doubtful that the organization will stash him in the minor leagues for the next five seasons, let alone the entire 2013 season.
Therefore, expect the Rangers to create room for their prized prospect, and sooner rather than later. The most realistic scenario, at least at the moment, would involve Ian Kinsler moving off the keystone to a different position, presumably first base or left field. While he’s not a clean fit at either position per se, his bat and top-of-the-order ability warrants at least an exploration of the idea.
Given the organization’s current first base options of Mitch Moreland and possibly Lance Berkman (if the need arises), eventually moving Kinsler to the position represents the preferred course of action and gets Profar into the lineup as the everyday second baseman.
The Rangers Trade Ian Kinsler
If a future position change seems increasingly unlikely, the Rangers could try to trade Kinsler during the offseason. As Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.com noted yesterday, the 30-year-old now has the option to conform or be cast out. The former would involve a position change, an idea that he met with resistance over the offseason (via Fox Sports). And the Rangers already made it clear that Profar will not be moving to the outfield.
Owed $57 million (not including his 2018 option) through the 2017 season, there will undoubtedly be a market for Kinsler, with teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics representing potential suitors.
The Rangers Trade Jurickson Profar
The least likely of scenarios, it’s highly doubtful that the Rangers will try to move Profar, who is only entering his age-20 season. After serving as a September call-up in 2012, he’s under team control through the 2018 season and won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2016. Given his potential impact in the major leagues, not to mention the amount of money the organization will save by moving Kinsler, it would presumably take the mother of all deals for the Rangers to part with their top prospect.