Depth is a critical part of championship-caliber teams. That’s been so for years – and, coming off a shortened 60-game season last year – may prove to be the case more so than ever before in 2021.
With that in mind, Padres GM AJ Preller brought back veteran Jurickson Profar, signing him to a three-year, $21 million deal on the heels of the best season of his career. The former top prospect played all over the diamond defensively while putting up some of the best offensive numbers of his career, batting .278/.343/.428.
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Look. Profar is not going to be in the starting lineup on an everyday basis. He’s just not. At second base, the team boasts offseason international prize Ha-Seong Kim and 2020 NL Rookie of the Year finalist Jake Cronenworth. In the outfield, the team features a mix of Wil Myers, Trent Grisham and Tommy Pham.
But you can bet that Jayce Tingler turns to Profar off the bench with great regularity and when one of the aforementioned guys needs a breather, he’ll jump right into the starting lineup – no questions asked.
"“That’s my identity — just playing, having fun every day, every night,” Profar told MLB.com. “Anywhere I can play, I’ll be ready.”"
Flashy trades and big-time free agent moves get all the headlines. That’s especially true for a team like San Diego that hasn’t been a legitimate contender in years. But the teams that last through the grind of a 162-game campaign and stand the test of October have depth and guys willing to play their role, no matter what it is.
Padres put the finishing touch on the offseason with Jurickson Profar
Profar checks that box – and then some.
He’s capable of playing seven positions and gives the team a much-needed safety net in the outfield. There are questions regarding which Cronenworth we’ll see: the guy who torched opposing pitching in the first month of 2020 or the one who flailed down the stretch? Can Myers and Pham stay healthy?
These questions would be more worrisome if not for Profar, ready to do what is asked of him. These types of players are increasingly rare in today’s game – and bringing one back with the standing of Profar might end up being the biggest win of the offseason for San Diego.
"“Since the season ended, I wanted to sign with the Padres,” Profar said. “My teammates wanted me here, and here I am … Last year, we made the first step. This year, we got even better.”"