With the departure of highly touted prospect Luis Urias in last week’s trade, the San Diego Padres left themselves with a dilemma at second base for 2020.
Sure, there are multiple highly rated prospects in the minor league system that should one day give the San Diego Padres their second basemen to pair with Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. But who plays the position in 2020? Maybe even 2021?
General Manager AJ Preller took one step closer to answering that question on Monday with the acquisition of former Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar.
The non-tender deadline stimulated trade activity all over MLB with the Padres jumping in to help resolve one of their biggest offseason questions.
Watching Profar play for the Rangers in 2018, one could be caught salivating over his skills. A switch-hitting infielder with good defensive movements and a strong arm, Profar also possessed enough power to keep pitchers honest.
Slashing .254/.335/.458 with 20 homers in 2018, his age 24 season, Profar was surprisingly traded to the Oakland Athletics in the offseason.
His 2019 did not impress.
Apparently acquiring a case of the yips early in the season, Profar had 13 errors at second base in 2019. He also struggled at the plate with a .218/.304/.410 batting line in 518 plate appearances.
This underwhelming performance going into his last arbitration-eligible season seems to have made him expendable for the A’s.
AJ Preller once again falls back on his Ranger days to trade for a player he is familiar with and helped acquire for Texas.
The Padres sent catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later in the exchange. Allen is a bat first, power-hitting catcher with defensive liabilities, not unlike Francisco Mejia. Not someone that figured into the Padres future.
So the silver lining to Profar’s 2018?
His batting line versus lefties — .305/.378/.457. Even if he is unable to return to his 2018 form there is value in a platoon with utility infielder Greg Garcia.
Garcia hit .254/.320/.373 versus righties last season with a .743 OPS.
If Profar responds well to a change of scenery and coaching the Padres could catch lightning in a bottle to bridge them to the second baseman of the future.