Rosenthal: Padres and Rangers Could Match Up Well for a Deal
By Tim Richer
The Winter Meetings are in full swing and rumors are seemingly raining down like cats and dogs. One team that’s seemed to grab some headlines so far is your very own Padres. One rumor, that was floated out by Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal, was that the Rangers and Padres match up nicely for a deal.
Whoa, Jurickson Profar? Baseball America’s #1 prospect following the 2012 season? On surface it sounds like it’s too good to be true. Profar is one of the game’s best young talents. He forced the Rangers into moving arguably the face of the franchise in Ian Kinsler to accommodate him. It’s not hard to see why. Through every level of the minors Profar did exactly what you want every player to do. He hit for average and power, got on base at a great rate and played stellar defense. To sum it all up John Sickels of Minor League Ball had this to say about him back in 2013.
"With additional physical maturity, this is a guy who could win Gold Gloves while hitting .300, hitting 15 homers, stealing 20 bases, drawing 80 walks, and charming puppies and kittens and beat reporters all across North America."
I think we all can agree the Padres could use a guy like that, but so could 29 other major league teams so why would the Rangers trade him? First, they need a front of the rotation starting pitcher to pair with Yu Darvish at the top of their rotation. With all of the injuries the Rangers suffered to their lineup last year, they needed to rely on their pitching staff to stay competitive.
The result was not pretty, they finished with the worst record in the American League. Adding an Andrew Cashner or Tyson Ross to their rotation as well as the addition of all their injured players returning the Rangers likely believe they’d have a shot at making the playoffs.
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Secondly is Profar’s health. He came into Spring Training in 2014 with the second base job in hand, but he never once took the field for the Rangers. Profar suffered a torn muscle in his shoulder and was expected to miss the first 10-12 weeks of the season, yet he’s still not fully recovered. Part of the reason he hasn’t been able to get healthy could be there’s not a clear solution to his injury.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News had this quote from Rangers GM Jon Daniels.
"“There are no cut-and-dried [surgical] deals with this,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “It is Jurickson’s preference and we support it to rest and rehab the shoulder. We’re going to do all we can to strengthen it.”"
The Rangers did announce last week that he will be cleared to start a throwing program in January and that they expect him to be ready to go for the regular season. That being said the shoulder could be an accident waiting to happen, and if the Padres are going to trade a young controllable front line starter how many risks can they take?
Luckily the Padres have someone with inside information on Profar. GM A.J. Preller. Just a few short months ago Preller was the Assistant GM in Texas trying to figure out how to fix Profar. He likely knows all the ins and out of what the Rangers have done and what Profar needs to get fully healthy. Prellar wouldn’t take a substantial risk like this if he wasn’t sure of Profar’s condition.
While it likely wouldn’t be a straight one for one swap, the framework of a Cashner/Ross for Profar deal sounds nice. The Padres want to use their pitching depth to improve their lineup, and this does exactly that. Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes are nice names, but they are only under contract for 2015. Matt Kemp on the other hand has 5 years left on his contract, he’s owed quite a bit of money.
With Profar the Padres are looking at a 22 year old with 5 years of team control at an affordable rate. He isn’t as polished as the other three, but he is actually someone that this franchise can build around.
Right now this is just some theory drawn up by Ken Rosenthal that has nothing tangible to go along with it, but it makes sense for both sides to consider it. With how close Preller and Daniels are this could be something that actually gets done.