Jurickson Profar free agency update likely rules out Padres reunion

Jerry Trotta
Oct 4, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar (center) gestures after scoring a run on a single hit by third baseman Manny Machado (not pictured) during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar (center) gestures after scoring a run on a single hit by third baseman Manny Machado (not pictured) during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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The San Diego Padres still have holes to plug in their starting rotation and bullpen, but their lineup and field alignment is starting to come full-circle.

While there’s growing debate about how the infield will look after the Xander Bogaerts signing — Fernando Tatis Jr. apparently isn’t keen on changing positions — left field is the only spot with legitimate question marks.

Tatis had been pegged the favorite to become the everyday left fielder, with Trent Grisham in center, and Juan Soto patrolling right field. While Tatis ultimately might not have a say in the decision, it doesn’t change the fact that the Padres have a Jurickson Profar-sized hole to fill in the outfield.

After the NLCS defeat, it was reported Profar and the Friars shared mutual interest in a reunion. That instilled hope in fans, but given the truncated OF market it always felt like Profar would take a bigger payday to play elsewhere.

The outfield market has started picking up steam in recent days, and Profar is no exception, with New York Post insider Jon Heyman reporting the Astros are interested in the 29-year-old, among two other free agents.

Astros showing interest in Padres free agent Jurickson Profar.

The Astros really are MLB’s foremost villain.

Of course, the Padres identified Jose Abreu as a “priority” this offseason only to see the former AL MVP sign with the Astros. Houston nabbing Profar to fill their LF vacancy would just be the icing on the worst-tasting cake ever … regardless of how unlikely it is that he ends up back in Slam Diego.

After a career year in 2022, Profar opted out of the final year of his three-year contract with the Padres. The fan favorite left $6.5 million on the table in the process, and odds are he inks more than that on the open market given all-or-nothing sluggers Cody Bellinger and Joey Gallo signed for $17.5 million and $11 million, respectively. Even defensive specialist Kevin Kiermaier got $9 million from Toronto.

Profar underwhelmed early in his contract, but he hit .243/.331/.391 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI and a 110 wRC+ this season. He set career-highs in plate appearances (658), hits (140), walks (73), and doubles (36), while tying a career-high with 82 runs scored.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Profar has the highest fWAR of the remaining free agent outfielders; underlining the strides he’s made with his glove. Furthermore, the veteran’s low strikeout rate, and ever-improving walk rate make him a seamless fit in the Astros’ lineup.

Throw in the fact that Michael Brantley and Michael Conforto are both coming off shoulder surgeries, and Profar is by far the safer choice for the defending champs.

Houston is the first team publicly linked to the Curacao native, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he winds up an Astro, especially after how quickly the Abreu signing came to fruition.

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