Sure, it was a small sample size (49 plate appearances), but the return of Jurickson Profar seemed to spark something in the San Diego Padres late last season.
Signed by the Padres as a free agent in late August after he was released by the Colorado Rockies, Profar slashed .295/.367/.409 in those 49 plate appearances after being reinstated to the Padres roster in time for San Diego's game in Houston against the defending World Champion Astros on September 9. Profar immediately showed he could still contribute to the Padres, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a pair of RBI in his debut, making Padres fans wonder why perhaps the 30-year-old versatile veteran had not been a part of the roster all season.
But that was then. Now the question is what lies ahead for the Padres and Profar in 2024.
San Diego Padres prediction: Jurickson Profar will have to prove his value in spring training
As part of his most recent newsletter, AJ Cassavell, who covers the Padres for MLB.com, made his predictions for what will happen with San Diego's free agents this offseason. As a spoiler alert, Cassavell expects most of them to find a new home in 2024. Profar, however, is one of the exceptions to that rule.
In the newsletter, Cassavell looks into his crystal ball and predicts of the veteran, "Profar is in Padres camp next spring on a prove-it deal, either a Minors contract or a league-minimum salary."
It's clear that Profar wants to be with the Padres and the feeling is mutual, with Cassavell adding, "He loves playing in San Diego, and his teammates love having him." With that in mind, it should not be a big surprise that Profar would be back in brown and gold next season. In fact, of all of the Padres free agents, this one could be the most sure thing of being back (provided the Padres do indeed extend him an invitation to return).
If Profar gets a chance to prove his value in spring training, expect him to be back on the roster for not only his skills on the field, but also his clubhouse demeanor in 2024.