The Texas Rangers have been rumored to be looking to part ways with rookie phenom Jurickson Profar. Having already signed shortstop Elvis Andrus to an eight-year, $120 million contract this offseason, Texas is having a tough time finding playing time for the top prospect of 2013.
With potential needs in their starting rotation and other minor needs on the roster, Texas could consider trading Profar for a player who could help them in this year's playoff push. While they may consider trading Profar before this month's deadline, there are reasons the Rangers should consider hanging onto the rising star.
He's the Top Prospect in Baseball
It's an obvious statement in saying that Jurickson Profar is this year's top prospect. That reason alone should be enough for the Rangers to consider keeping him.
The trade market hasn't appeared to be too big early on this year. It has been rumored that the Marlins could be willing to part ways with superstar Giancarlo Stanton, but that might be the only player who the Rangers should trade Profar for.
You can't just give away a top prospect without getting a lot in return. Profar has value at other positions, as he could likely play second base or third base. A top prospect should yield top, proven talent in the league, and somebody who could be with the team for multiple years.
While Texas should consider making moves for other players, it does not seem like any player is worthy of being traded for a player of Profar's caliber. The one guy who the Rangers have been heavily linked to is starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco. While Nolasco would be a great addition to the Rangers rotation, he only has one year left on his deal.
With only one year remaining on his deal, there is no guarantee that he would re-sign with Texas at the end of the season. Sure, he could help Texas reach the playoffs, and perhaps, help them go deep into the postseason. However, because it isn't guaranteed that Nolasco would remain with Texas, it wouldn't make sense for the Rangers to trade Profar for a guy who could only be with them for half a year.
If Texas does look to trade their top prospect, they will do so with a lot of consideration about future trade value for both teams.
Profar Has the Makings of a Great Second Baseman
Ian Kinsler is a great hitter and solid defensively, but at 31 years old, he could be an expendable player with Profar on the roster.
Profar doesn't hit for the average that Kinsler has this season, as he is hitting just .259 while Kinsler is hitting .282. That being said, age could be a factor when trading Profar.
Kinsler and Profar are the same height, standing at an even 6'0". Profar has the ideal height to be a playmaker at second base and tremendous speed, something Kinsler has been lacking this year.
Profar was a great base stealer in the minors, converting on 53 of his 70 attempts. The speed that he shows on the basepaths would convert well at second base. Profar would be able to make plays deep in the hole and would likely have the ability to reach balls that Kinsler couldn't.
I still like Kinsler at second base, but if the Rangers were to consider the long-term future of their team, Profar may be able to replace him for the remainder of this season—and the future. Profar's power could develop, while Kinsler's may be on the decline. If Texas were to trade a big-name player at the deadline, it may be Kinsler, not Profar, who is on his way out.
What About Designated Hitter?
Up until recently, it may have seemed a little crazy to suggest that Profar, or anybody, could replace designated hitter Lance Berkman.
Through the first two months of the season, Berkman hit .288 for Texas with four homers, 28 RBI and a .392 on-base percentage. The problem is he hasn't been able to get anywhere close to those numbers since. Since the start of June, Berkman has hit just .191 for the Rangers, hitting only two home runs while driving in six runs.
Berkman's numbers aren't the only thing that have fallen as of late. Last week, the 37-year-old veteran reportedly injured his leg after falling down some stairs on the team plane. The injury didn't cause him to miss many games, and he is already back in the lineup for the Rangers, but little injuries like this raise more concern about the aging veteran's durability.
Profar is hitting .259 this season, and while his average isn't great, it's better than Berkman's has been as of late. He also displays a good amount of patience at the plate for a young player. Profar has walked eight times in 32 games this year for Texas, good for a .325 on-base percentage.
It could be a good idea for Texas to consider playing Profar at designated hitter if they can't find anywhere to put him defensively. It wouldn't be surprising to see him put up similar home run numbers to Berkman, and his speed gives him the capability to stretch out extra-base hits that Berkman couldn't.
All stats and info courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN.com, ScoutingBook.com and YahooSports.com.
Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZacharyKrueger
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