All 30 MLB Teams' Most Difficult Decision This Season
Whether they're a legitimate title contender, hovering around .500 or in the process of a full-blown rebuild, each MLB team faces a number of tough decisions throughout the course of a season.
For contenders, it may be deciding how aggressive to be at the deadline, while sellers have to decide which pieces to sell off and which to hold onto.
Regardless of whether they're a contender or seller, deciding when to call up a top prospect is always a huge decision for any MLB team.
So here is a look at the the most difficult decision facing each of the 30 MLB teams at this point in the season, and while things will no doubt change in the months ahead, a number of these will likely still be left undecided by midseason.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Which Outfielder to Trade, If Any
Despite trading away Justin Upton and Chris Young in the offseason, the Diamondbacks still have an abundance of outfield options to choose from this season.
The outfield was originally expected to be Jason Kubel in left, Adam Eaton in center and Cody Ross in right with Gerardo Parra serving as the fourth outfielder.
However, with Eaton on the shelf with an elbow injury, Parra has thrived in an everyday role, hitting .304 with a team-high 29 runs scored.
Still, Eaton is the future for the team atop the lineup and in center field, and he'll most likely be given everyday at-bats once he's healthy. So who is the odd man out?
Kubel seems like the most likely trade candidate, as he is in the final year of his contract with a $7.5 million option for next season. Parra would likely have the more trade value than Kubel or Ross, but would the team be willing to part with him? It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Atlanta Braves: How to Work Brandon Beachy Back into the Mix
Before Kris Medlen took the league by storm last season, going 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts after moving from the bullpen to the rotation in the second half, it was Brandon Beachy who was opening eyes out of the Atlanta rotation.
The 26-year-old right-hander went 5-5 with a 2.00 ERA and 0.963 WHIP over his first 13 starts before an elbow injury and eventual Tommy John surgery landed him on the disabled list.
He's on the mend now and is expected to make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, according to a tweet from Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
The Braves rotation has been solid this year for the most part, with Mike Minor (5-2, 2.78 ERA), Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.02 ERA) and Paul Maholm (6-4, 3.38 ERA) all pitching well and rookie Julio Teheran (3-1, 3.99 ERA) rounding into form. Opening Day starter Tim Hudson (4-3, 4.98 ERA) has struggled, but with a $9 million salary, they'll likely stick with him.
The team needs help in the bullpen, with setup guys Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty both done for the season, so they could opt to use Beachy as a reliever once he returns to help limit his innings.
Baltimore Orioles: When to Call Up Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman
Last season, the Orioles managed to make the postseason despite the wildly inconsistent performance of their starting rotation.
After failing to make a significant signing this offseason, the starting staff has once again been an issue here in 2013. Wei-Yin Chen (3-3, 3.04 ERA) and Chris Tillman (3-2, 3.52 ERA) have been solid, but the rotation as a whole has a 4.79 ERA, good for 25th in the MLB.
However, there are reinforcements on the way in the form of top prospects Dylan Bundy (No. 2 prospect in MLB) and Kevin Gausman (No. 26 prospect in MLB) who rank among the best young arms in the game, according to Baseball America.
Bundy made his big-league debut last season after dominating minor league competition in his first pro season. The 20-year-old is currently shut down due to elbow stiffness, but once he returns, he'll likely be on the fast track to Baltimore.
Gausman, the No. 4 pick in last year's draft, is currently 2-4 with a 3.11 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 46.1 innings at the Double-A level. If he keeps pitching like he has, he may be up sooner rather than later.
*Update: We now know when Kevin Gausman is going to be called up, as he'll make his debut against the Blue Jays on Thursday (h/t ESPN).
Boston Red Sox: What to Do with Jacoby Ellsbury
After a busy offseason of veteran additions, the Red Sox look poised to make a serious run at contention this season. They currently sit at 28-19 on the season, in second place in the AL East and holding the first AL Wild Card spot.
Despite all of that, they will have a big decision to make regarding the future of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury at some point this season.
A dynamic offensive threat in 2011, Ellsbury was limited by a shoulder injury last season and he has not been the same player since returning.
He's hitting just .249/.318/.340 on the season, but the talent that made him a 30/30 player is still there. The 29-year-old is a free agent at season's end, and with Jackie Bradley set to take over in center field, chances are he won't be re-signed.
That puts the Red Sox in an interesting position come July, as Ellsbury could be a valuable trade chip, but they may also be squarely in the playoff picture.
Chicago Cubs: What to Do with Scott Feldman
A 17-game winner in 2009, Scott Feldman has been far from a staff ace the past three seasons, going a combined 15-23 with a 5.15 ERA.
After receiving little interest on the free agent market this offseason, the Cubs added him on a one-year, $7 million deal as they looked to add some depth to their starting rotation.
He scuffled out of the gates, losing his first two starts and allowing 12 hits and six earned runs through nine innings as opponents hit .308/.429/.410 off of him.
He's been a different pitcher since then, however, going 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA over his past five starts as one of the best pitchers in the National League.
The 30-year-old likely doesn't factor into the team's long-term plans, but they will have to decide whether they want to make a run at re-signing him for a couple years or flip him for prospects at the deadline.
Chicago White Sox: How to Begin Rebuilding
The White Sox were surprise contenders last season, as the were in first in the AL Central for much of the season before being passed by the Tigers down the stretch.
This season has been a different story, though, and it appears to be time for a full-scale rebuild on the South Side. However, that will be easier said than done for this team, as they are tied down by a number of big contracts and could have serous trouble overhauling the team.
John Danks, Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Alexi Ramirez are set to make a combined $67.75 million next season. Rios and Peavy have undeniable trade value, but it remains to be seen if the team would be willing to trade them.
With one of the thinnest farm systems in all of baseball and a lack of tradeable assets, the path ahead looks like a tough one for the White Sox, and figuring out where to start rebuilding is step No. 1.
Cincinnati Reds: What to Do with Shin-Soo Choo
The Reds are in good shape this season from a player standpoint, and they'll be even better off once Ryan Ludwick returns from injury.
They have no real holes in the lineup, one of the best bullpens in baseball and a solid starting rotation with a future star in Tony Cingrani waiting in the wings should someone go down with an injury.
Their biggest decision this year will come at the end of the season, when they have a pair key players hitting the free-agent market in Bronson Arroyo and Shin-Soo Choo.
They'll likely let the 36-year-old Arroyo walk to open up a spot for Cingrani, but what to do regarding Choo is a far tougher decision.
Speedy top prospect Billy Hamilton is expected to take over in center field at some point, but he's hitting just .243/.303/.341 so far this season in his first taste of Triple-A.
Choo has been a major weapon atop the lineup, and he'll likely be looking for a sizable contract. So do the Reds bite the bullet and re-sign him, let him walk and pursue a stop-gap option (Coco Crisp?) or simply turn things over to Hamilton next season?
Cleveland Indians: How to Improve the Farm System
The Indians have been the surprise team of 2013 so far, as a busy offseason of veteran signings have led to a vastly improved offense and a pitching staff led by Justin Masterson has exceeded expectations to this point.
Heading into the offseason, many expected the Indians to be aggressive sellers, with guys like Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Perez and Masterson potential trade chips. While the success they are enjoying in 2013 is nice, and they do have a legitimate chance to contend for a postseason spot, their long-term outlook is cloudy at best.
Their farm system is thin, ranked No. 24 out of 30 by the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, and shortstop Francisco Lindor is their only prospect that profiles as a real impact big leaguer.
Contending this season is great for the fanbase, but it may not be all that great for the team, as it may very well mean another deadline of buying or at the very least not selling. That means another year that comes and goes without any significant talent, outside of the draft, being added to the farm.
Colorado Rockies: What to Do with Rafael Betancourt
Long one of the most consistent setup men in baseball, the Rockies signed Rafael Betancourt to a two-year, $8.5 million extension after trading Huston Street last offseason, and they opted to go with the veteran as their closer.
As a 37-year-old first-time closer, Betancourt went 31-for-38 on save chances with a 2.81 ERA as he was a pleasant surprise at the back end of the Rockies bullpen.
With a healthy rotation backing their potent offense, the Rockies have exceeded expectations so far in 2013 as their 26-21 record is tied for first in the NL West. Betancourt has been as good as anyone, converting all 10 of his save chances with a 1.56 ERA.
If they keep playing solid baseball, they may not want to sell at the deadline. However, Betancourt's value will likely never be higher as he figures to be one of the top relief arms potentially available come July.
The Rockies hold a $4.25 million option on him for next season, but if trading him meant landing a couple of solid prospects, it's something they'd at least have to consider.
Rex Brothers (0.42 ERA, 8.9 K/9) has closer stuff, and Wilton Lopez (23 G, 3.80 ERA) has experience in the job, so they could trade Betancourt and still have a solid back end of the bullpen.
Detroit Tigers: If/When to Call Up Nick Castellanos
With a deep rotation, a solid stable of bullpen arms and arguably the best offense in all of baseball, there are few holes on the Tigers roster barring injury.
The clear weak spot in the lineup is left field, where Andy Dirks (.258 BA, .738 OPS) has been better after a very slow start, but is still an average option at best.
The team's top prospect, Nick Castellanos, made the transition from third base to left field last season and proceeded to dominate High-A and Double-A pitching at the age of 20 while he did it.
He finished the season with a .320/.365/.451 line and opened 2013 in Triple-A, where he has held his own with a .253/.319/.419 line that includes 14 doubles and five home runs.
Provided he continues to improve, he may very well be the Tigers' best left-field option by the All-Star break, but they won't want to call him up unless he's getting everyday at-bats. When to call him up will likely be a far bigger decision than anything the Tigers decide to do at the deadline.
Houston Astros: When to Call Up Jonathan Singleton
Were it not for a 50-game suspension due to a positive marijuana test, top prospect Jonathan Singleton likely would have had a very real chance of breaking camp as the Astros' starting first baseman.
Acquired from Philadelphia in the Hunter Pence deal, Singleton hit ..284/.396/.497 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI as a 20-year-old in Double-A.
Carlos Pena will likely be a trade chip come July, and Brett Wallace looks to have squandered his last chance at locking down the first-base job, so it might not be long after he returns before the Astros give Singleton a crack at the job.
They'll no doubt be some rust to shake off after missing so much time, and the Astros won't want to put him in a position where he's over-matched at the big league level, but he's one of the few impact prospects they have who is ready to be worked into the fold.
Kansas City Royals: Whether to Buy or Sell
After an offseason of retooling their pitching staff, highlighted by the acquisitions of James Shields and Ervin Santana, the Royals have not had the start to the season they hoped for, as they're currently 21-22 in third in the AL Central.
That said, they have the talent to remain on the fringe of contention if nothing changes, and to be legitimate contenders if the offense can get going.
Assuming they do remain right around the .500 mark, they figure to have as tough a decision as anyone on whether to buy or sell at the deadline. They were aggressive buyers in the offseason, trading a number of top prospects to land Shields, and they may not want to backpedal now that they've made that commitment.
If they did opt to sell, Santana (3-3, 2.77 ERA) looks to be their best trade chip, provided they don't flip Shields for more prospects. The 30-year-old Santana is a free agent at season's end, and he would be one of the market's top arms if he keeps pitching at the level he has so far.
Los Angeles Angels: How Long to Stick with Mike Scioscia
The Angels have been as aggressive as any team in baseball the past two offseasons. Two years ago, they brought in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, and this past offseason it was Josh Hamilton and a trio of starting pitchers to overhaul the rotation.
Last season saw them finish a disappointing 89-73 and miss the postseason, and they're off to a disastrous 19-27 start to the 2013 season.
To this point, owner Arte Moreno has been nothing but supportive of manager Mike Scioscia, giving him another vote of confidence last week (h/t ESPN).
The Angels gave Scioscia a 10-year, $50 million extension prior to the 2009 season and he was still owed $34 million of that heading into this season, so firing him would be no small financial decision.
However, a shake-up may be necessary at some point if the Angels can't turn it around, because the talent is there on paper, but the results haven't been there on the field.
Los Angeles Dodgers: How to Work Yasiel Puig into the Mix
Last June, the Dodgers signed Cuban defector Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42 million major league deal and he went on to hit .354/.442/.634 with five home runs in 82 at-bats between the Rookie League and High-A.
Invited to big-league camp this spring, the 22-year-old put on a show as he went 30-for-58 with five doubles, two triples and three home runs.
However, with a full outfield of Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the team had nowhere to put him at the big league level, and he opened his first full pro season in Double-A.
Through 32 games, he's hitting .314/.385/.579 with 18 extra-base hits (six home runs), 24 RBI and 10 steals. All signs point to him being ready to make a big-league impact right now. It's just a matter of finding a spot for him.
Whether it's via trade or otherwise, the Dodgers will likely need to figure out how to get Puig's bat in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Miami Marlins: How Aggressive to Be with Christian Yelich
The Marlins' first-round pick in 2010 and the No. 15 prospect in baseball entering the season according to Baseball America, Christian Yelich figures to be a big part of the Marlins future.
The team has been aggressive with their top prospects of late, evidenced by the fact that 20-year-old Jose Fernandez currently has a rotation spot, but they may be more careful with Yelich.
The 21-year-old spent a full season in Single-A in 2011 and a full season in High-A in 2012, before opening the 2013 campaign at Double-A.
He certainly looked like he could hold his own at the big league level this spring, when he went 16-for-44 with five home runs and 14 RBI.
He's currently hitting .308/.376/.624 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 28 games at Double-A, and it may not be long before the 21-year-old makes the jump to Triple-A.
With nothing to play for in 2013, the Marlins have no reason not to call him up, but they have to be careful not to put him into a position where he's over-matched and his confidence takes a blow.
Milwaukee Brewers: What to Do with Corey Hart
Last season, the Brewers were undone by their bullpen, as they fell short of the postseason despite the NL's highest-scoring offense and a solid young starting rotation.
This season, it has been the rotation that has let them down, as their offense has once again been potent but they find themselves tied for last in the NL Central at 18-27.
Unless they turn things around quickly, they will likely be sellers at the deadline, and the most intriguing trade chip they hold is first baseman/outfielder Corey Hart.
In the final season of a three-year, $26.5 million deal, Hart has yet to play a game in 2013 after undergoing right knee surgery back in January. He is expected to join the team for their next road trip, and they should be able to get an idea of a return date once he participates in pre-game activities.
The 31-year-old hit .270/.334/.507 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI last season, and he will no doubt garner plenty of attention come July if he's healthy. However, he's been with the Brewers his entire career, and the team may opt to re-sign him at the end of the season rather than trading him.
Minnesota Twins: What to Do with Justin Morneau
The Twins once again rank among the worst teams in the league, as they're not hitting or pitching particularly well at this point and are 18-25 to open the season and 1-9 in their last 10 games.
As a result, they'll likely be sellers at the deadline, and while guys like Kevin Correia and Jamey Carroll are safe bets to be moved, the most interesting trade chip they hold is first baseman Justin Morneau.
Once one of the most feared sluggers in baseball, Morneau averaged a line of .292 with 30 home runs and 118 RBI from 2006-2009 and he took home AL MVP honors in 2006.
However, injuries limited him to just 150 games total the next two seasons, before he finally managed to stay relatively healthy last year and hit .267 with 19 home runs and 77 RBI.
In the final year of a six-year, $80 million deal, the 32-year-old is currently hitting .314 with a team-high 31 RBI, though he has just two home runs so far.
A member of the Twins organization since they drafted him in 1999, Morneau has a no-trade clause and even without that, the team could opt to hold onto him and look to re-sign him at a lower salary this offseason.
New York Mets: When to Call Up Zack Wheeler
Acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran at the deadline in 2011, Wheeler has been pegged as a future star since being taken with the No. 6 pick in the 2009 draft.
Though slightly behind Matt Harvey in terms of development, those two have been expected to lead the Mets staff back to contention since the day Wheeler was acquired.
Harvey is doing his part as one of the breakout stars of the 2013 season, and Wheeler may not be far behind as he figures to be part of the Mets rotation at some point this season. The question is, when?
The No. 11 prospect in baseball entering the season, according to Baseball America, the 22-year-old Wheeler opened the season in Triple-A, and he is 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 48.1 innings through his first nine starts.
Considering every Mets starter aside from Harvey has an ERA over 4.50 right now, he could likely step into the rotation right now and be the team's second-best starter. Expect him to be up sometime around midseason.
New York Yankees: How to Handle Playing Time Once Everyone Is Healthy
The Yankees' ability to overcome the injuries of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, among many others, has been nothing short of amazing here in the early going.
A big reason why they've managed to keep playing at a high level is the unexpected production of the veteran trio Vernon Wells (.847 OPS, 10 HR, 24 RBI), Travis Hafner (.927 OPS, 8 HR, 24 RBI) and Lyle Overbay (.753 OPS, 7 HR, 25 RBI).
The return of Granderson has already made things complicated in the outfield, with the struggling Ichiro Suzuki (.241 BA) finding himself on the bench. Getting Teixeira back will mean fewer at-bats for both Hafner and Overbay.
There is no question the Yankees have to play their star players once they're healthy, but it's a tough thing to do messing with the makeup and chemistry of a team that is currently 28-18 and in first place in the AL East.
Oakland Athletics: How Aggressive to Be at the Deadline
The A's are in an interesting position right now, as they appear to be the second-best team in the AL West by a sizable margin, but there is also a wide gap between them and the Rangers for first place. I mean that not only from a record standpoint, but from an overall talent standpoint.
If they were someone like the Yankees come July, it would be a no-brainer for them to be a buyer and to make a run at a Wild Card spot.
However, we all know by now that they're not the Yankees, and if they're a handful of games out of a Wild Card spot come July, it actually wouldn't be all the surprising to see them sell off a few pieces.
On the flip side, if they can get hot and close the gap between them and Texas, they may only be a few pieces away from serious contention, and they could look to make an impact acquisition or two.
Whether it is as as a buyer, seller or both come July, deciding just how aggressive to be will not only influence the A's in 2013 but down the line as well.
Philadelphia Phillies: What to Do with Cliff Lee
It looks as though the Phillies title-contention window has closed, and they are left with an aging core of high-priced superstars and little wiggle room as far starting to rebuild is concerned in 2013.
Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Michael Young are all free agents at season's end, and they are making a combined $52 million this season, so just unloading those contracts will free up a good deal of payroll.
However, depending on how aggressively they are looking to rebuild, they could also entertain the idea of trading left-hander Cliff Lee.
The 34-year-old came up in rumors when the Phillies fell out of the race last season, and he has already been brought up this season as perhaps the prize of the July deadline (h/t CSNPhilly).
With a $25 million salary this season, and due another $62.5 million at least over the next three years, moving him would be no easy feat. He remains a front-line arm though, and he would be a huge addition to any contender, as he's 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA on the season so far.
Pittsburgh Pirates: When to Call Up Gerrit Cole
The No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, Gerrit Cole reached Triple-A in his first pro season last year, going 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA and 9.3 K/9 over three levels.
He opened 2013 as the No. 7 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, and he's expected to make his big league debut one way or another in 2013.
The Pirates are playing well once again here in the early going, and the trio of A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.57 ERA), Wandy Rodriguez (5-2, 3.40 ERA) and Jeff Locke (4-1, 2.73 ERA) has been solid.
However, the rest of the rotation remains a question mark moving forward, and Cole could be the answer to shoring up one of those spots.
The 22-year-old is 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 48 innings through nine starts at Triple-A this season. Those are solid numbers, but well short of dominant, so the Pirates will likely let him get more seasoning for the time being.
San Diego Padres: Whether to Extend or Trade Chase Headley
After an unassuming start to his big league career, and to the 2012 season, Chase Headley exploded to hit .308/.386/.592 with 23 home runs and 73 RBI after the All-Star break last season.
The 29-year-old is off to a nice start again this season, hitting .281/.394/.445, as his offensive surge looks to be at least somewhat legitimate.
Under team control through the 2014 season, Headley is one of the premier offensive players at a position that is extremely thin on impact players league-wide.
The Padres opted to trade Adrian Gonzalez prior to the 2011 season when they knew they wouldn't be able to afford him long-term, and they may wind up doing the same thing with Headley.
That said, the Padres are a team on the rise, with a solid core at the big league level (though greatly lacking in front-line pitching) and one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball. Headley could net a big return, but he could also be the piece they decide to build around.
San Francisco Giants: Whether to Add a Starter at the Deadline
The Giants have won two World Series titles in the past three years, and it's been largely due to their fantastic pitching, both in the rotation and out of the bullpen.
The bullpen has been solid once again this year, and the offense has been significantly better than last season, but the starting rotation has been far from dominant.
Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 2.89 ERA) is pitching like an ace, and Barry Zito (3-3, 3.91 ERA) has been solid at the back end of the staff.
However, Matt Cain (3-2, 5.12 ERA) has not looked the same, Tim Lincecum (3-3, 4.70 ERA) has been inconsistent and Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 7.19 ERA) was downright terrible before landing on the DL with a fractured hand.
Without much in the way of in-house reinforcements, the Giants could look to make a splash at the deadline and add an impact starter to their staff. Depleting an already thin farm system even further would be tough to swallow, but their window to contend is still open, so it may be worth going for it.
Seattle Mariners: When to Call Up Reinforcements
The Mariners put five players on the Baseball America's preseason top 100 list, and they are all expected to make their major league debut at some point in 2013.
Catcher Mike Zunino (.220/.290/.496), second baseman Nick Franklin (.318/.441/.481) and left-handers Danny Hultzen (3-1, 2.71 ERA, 9.9 K/9) and James Paxton (2-3, 4.35 ERA, 10.2 K/9) are all currently playing for Triple-A Tacoma, while Taijuan Walker (3-4, 2.77 ERA, 9.9 K/9) is at Double-A Jackson.
Hultzen is currently on the shelf with a strained rotator cuff, and Walker is still raw at just 20 years old, but by midseason, all five of these guys could find their way onto the Mariners roster.
An offseason highlighted by the additions of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales has done little to improve things at the big league level, with the team sitting at 20-27. They likely won't be playing for anything come midseason, so getting these guys some experience will be priority No. 1.
St. Louis Cardinals: If/When to Call Up Oscar Taveras
No team in baseball is better at overcoming injuries than the Cardinals, so while season-ending shoulder surgery for Jaime Garcia would be a huge blow for most teams, they still look to be in good shape.
Shortstop has been a bit of a question mark after Rafael Furcal was lost for the season before it even started, but the team appears confident in Pete Kozma manning the position on a regular basis.
So while they could still look to add a piece or two, the Cardinals toughest decision lies in what to do with top prospect Oscar Taveras.
The 20-year-old is hitting .317/.351/.480 at Triple-A so far, and after a monster season last year, he looks to have all the makings of a future superstar.
With Carlos Beltran set to hit free agency at the end of the season, the assumption is that he'll take over in right field next year, but it remains to be seen how big of an impact he'll have in St. Louis this season.
Tampa Bay Rays: When to Call Up Wil Myers
The consensus Minor League Player of the Year last season after hitting .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A, Wil Myers was acquired from the Royals this offseason in the James Shields trade.
The 22-year-old profiles as an impact bat in the middle of the Rays' lineup, and the hope is that he'll give the team another dynamic run producer alongside Evan Longoria.
Myers strikes out a ton, as he fanned 140 times last season and has already been punched out 51 times in 156 at-bats at Triple-A so far this season.
His current .244/.341/.372 line is nothing impressive, and the Rays' offense has been substantially improved this season, so there is no rush to call him up at this point.
Texas Rangers: How to Work Jurickson Profar into the Everyday Lineup
The No. 1 prospect in all of baseball entering the season, according to Baseball America, Jurickson Profar continues to push for everyday playing time in Texas despite the team not having anywhere to put him.
With Ian Kinsler at second base and Elvis Andrus at shortstop, the Rangers shipped Profar to Triple-A to open the season so he could continue seeing everyday at-bats.
In 37 games, he hit .278/.370/.438 with 13 extra-base hits before being called up to replace the injured Kinsler earlier this week.
Once Kinsler returns, he'll likely find himself back in the minors, but it is clear he is capable of making a positive impact at the big league level right now.
The idea of moving Ian Kinsler to the outfield or first base was kicked around this spring, and it could be something the Rangers revisit.
With Mitch Moreland (.905 OPS, 10 HR, 24 RBI) enjoying a breakout season, first base is likely no longer an option, but replacing the struggling David Murphy (.219 BA) in left field could be.
Toronto Blue Jays: What to Do at the Deadline
The Blue Jays went all-in this offseason, decimating their minor league system in a pair of blockbuster deals that looked as though they would make the big league club legitimate World Series contenders.
Instead, they team has stumbled out of the gates and currently sits in last place in the AL East at 19-27. There is still plenty of time to turn things around, but either way the July trade deadline figures to be full of tough decisions for Toronto.
If they find themselves close enough to make a run, they will likely look to pull off a trade, as they have already committed so much to this team, they would almost have to.
However, if they are out of the playoff picture, they would have some interesting trade chips. Right-hander Josh Johnson is a free agent at the end of the season, and could be moved. Veteran closer Casey Janssen is having a fantastic season, and has an option for next year, so he could have a ton of value on the market as well.
Washington Nationals: What to Do at Second Base
The Nationals have been somewhat disappointing this season, as they entered the year viewed by many as the best all-around team in baseball, but they are just 24-23 so far.
The offense has been the biggest issue, as they're hitting just .225 as a team and averaging just 3.4 runs per game. Those marks rank ahead of only the Marlins among the other 29 teams.
A number of players have gotten off to slow starts, but the worst of the bunch has been second baseman Danny Espinosa. The 26-year-old is hitting just .163/.196/.291 on the season and he's struck out 40 times through his first 141 at-bats.
He hit 38 home runs over the past two seasons, but his power has not been enough to offset his poor contract rate so far this season.
Eventually the team will have to consider making a change if he doesn't turn things around, with Steve Lombardozzi or top prospect Anthony Rendon being the most likely in-house candidates.
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