Yankees Offseason Trade Target: Jurickson Profar
One notable player who fits the New York Yankees pattern of buying low on elite talents is Texas Rangers utilityman Jurickson Profar.
After missing two full seasons of his young career to multiple shoulder surgeries, Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar played a career-high 90 big league games in 2016. Although he struggled at the plate this year, Profar is not far removed from being the consensus best prospect in baseball. He received a ton of interest at the trade deadline and likely will again this winter. Should the Yankees try to buy low on this elite talent?
General manager Brian Cashman has an affinity for trying to rehabilitate “failed” top prospects. His trades for Dustin Ackley, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, and Nathan Eovaldi in the past few years all fit this pattern.
Profar is still just 23, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he was rusty after losing two years of development. He hit .239/.321/.338 in 307 plate appearances for the Rangers this year, and .284/.356/.426 in another 189 PA for Triple-A Round Rock in the PCL. It’s an open question whether he will recover the 15-20 homer pop he had prior to the shoulder surgery, but even if he doesn’t, Profar has enough other skills to remain a useful player.
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With Elvis Andrus locked up long-term at short, Roughned Odor handling the keystone, and Adrian Beltre signed to a two year extension, the Rangers don’t have a clear full-time job in the infield for Profar. Texas used him at first base and in left field sporadically this year, but he probably doesn’t have the bat for a starting job in either spot.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with using Profar as a super-sub. That is probably how the Yankees would employ him unless they moved Starlin Castro or Chase Headley. The Rangers certainly don’t have to move him unless they receive something useful in return.
I would guess that Texas would be looking for a young pitcher or outfielder back and New York isn’t really in a position to give up young pitching, which makes finding a match difficult. Aaron Judge or Luis Severino is probably who Texas would target first, and neither of those swaps would make sense for the Yankees.
It would probably take at least one top 100 talent from New York to get the deal done. Maybe Justus Sheffield? Selling on pitching prospects before they get hurt is usually good business unless they are elite.
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While the Yankees have no clear job for Profar, the front office loves to bet on young talent and worry about how they fit in later.