Sep 26, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar (13) hits a walk off home run during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Should The Mets Dangle A Young Pitcher For Jurickson Profar?

There’s been tons of talk since the season ended about the Mets’ needs in the outfield, and just how they might go about filling those needs.  As far as pending free agents, both Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury‘s names have come up.  When the trade route is discussed, the focus is usually on Carlos Gonzalez and Giancarlo Stanton.

Both Choo and Ellsbury are likely to get five or six year deals for close to $100 million dollars.  There’s been recent talk that Gonzalez isn’t available (though I’ll believe that when he remains with the Rockies through the off-season), and there really hasn’t been much talk regarding Stanton’s availability.  Perhaps, instead of looking to make a splash in the outfield, the Mets’ focus should be on finding a young, impact bat to play in the middle of the infield.

During his chat today, Keith Law of ESPN was asked what the Mets’ strategy should be this winter.  His response:

They should explore trading one of those two arms (Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard), or [Rafael] Montero, for a top position player prospect, preferably up the middle. It’s a painful thought but they’d be trading from strength.

Even with the loss of Matt Harvey for most, if not all of 2014, the Mets are still set up nicely as far as their starting pitching (in both the majors and minors) is concerned.  Law is right when he says that dealing one of their top pitching prospects would be painful.  However, if that deal returns a position player prospect who’s rated similarly, it might wind up being the best course of action.

Mark Simon, Law’s colleague at ESPN, wrote a piece today that suggested the Mets should go after shortstop Jurickson Profar of Texas.  Profar, 20, made his debut with the Rangers this season.  However, due to the presence of Elvis Andrus, Profar was used all over the diamond.  He played more games as a designated hitter (20) than he did at shortstop (18).  He also played 32 games at second base, 10 at third base, and 4 in the outfield.

Profar was ranked before the 2013 season as the top overall prospect in baseball.  Here’s what Keith Law wrote about him at the time:

Profar is the best prospect in the minors this year thanks to an incredible combination of tools, skills and baseball instincts rarely found in players who play in the middle of the field. His feel for the game is unusual for a player of any age, much less a teenager, and should put another nail in the coffin of the old saw that American-born players have better instincts.

Notice how Law stresses how good Profar’s instincts are for someone who plays in the middle of the field.  He’s a player with tons of upside, but his potential is partially negated if he isn’t used where he should be used (shortstop), and it’s a waste if he’s used as a designated hitter.  Currently, the Rangers don’t have room for him at shortstop.

It’s likely (as Simon writes) that the Rangers will try to deal Andrus (who already signed a huge deal) instead of Profar, but it’s not clear if there would be any takers.

If the Rangers are unable to deal Andrus, the Mets should go full bore after Profar.

At present, the Mets have four players (David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Travis d’Arnaud, and Juan Lagares) whose skill set could work as a starting position player on a contender.  Aside from Wright, none of them is a true impact bat, though d’Arnaud may turn into one.  Lagares’ value at the moment lies with his defense in center field, and Murphy’s value lies with his offense.  Profar, if acquired, could change the dynamic of the offense and the up the middle defense.

In order for Profar to wind up with the Mets, the Rangers would probably have to be high on either Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, and the Mets would have to be willing to deal one of them.  This isn’t a pie in the sky idea, though.

Syndergaard and Wheeler are viewed as two of the best pitching prospects in baseball.  Both have electric arms, and both have number one starter potential.  At the moment, the Rangers don’t have a middle infield position open for Profar.  Both Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler are under contract through 2017, and both are due an enormous sum of money.

The Mets should call the Rangers and see if there’s a match.  It would definitely sting if the Mets had to part with one of Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, but they would be getting a high reward for that large sacrifice if the player coming back was Jurickson Profar.


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Tags: Elvis Andrus Jurickson Profar New York Mets Noah Syndergaard Texas Rangers Zack Wheeler

  • Andrew Lloyd

    Why not focus on taking back Elvis Andrus’ big contract instead? Give up a lesser prospect package – say, built around Montero (who still projects well, just not necessarily as an ace), where the Rangers kick in a few bucks to make the contract less onerous.

    So the pain is spread between dealing Montero, just as an example (there’s also Jake DeGrom, Wilmer Flores, etc. etc.), and taking a financial hit. They can afford both, and they get a proven ML talent back in Andrus. Maybe his ceiling isn’t as high as Profar’s, but frankly the Mets can’t afford to give up Wheeler or Syndegaard for anything less than Stanton. Even then…

    • Agee’s Catch

      Why take on 9 or 10 year contract?

    • Andrew Lloyd

      Agreed that is a distasteful prospect – but presumably the Rangers know they made a bad deal and would be willing to take lesser prospects AND kick in money to be out from under it. So basically, the Mets take a page from the Dodgers book and improve themselves quickly by taking on grossly overpaid contracts.

      The nice thing, though, is Andrus is only 24 – you could feasibly get nice production out of him for the life of the contract. (Or, his leg could fall off in spring training and you have a 9-year albatross. yay!!)

    • Agee’s Catch

      Just not the type of contract Alderson would give, let alone trade for.

      I’d trade Zack Wheeler for Profar in a heartbeat. For Anders, I’d offer them Beck Wheeler.

    • Andrew Lloyd

      Trade Wheeler, and who’s your ace? The game is won with pitching. Wheeler also performed much better at the ML level than Profar did this year. I’d want Profar plus a high ceiling AA-level pitching prospect back.

      As for Andrus – I agree, I wouldn’t give up much, if anything major, because the contracts stinks. That’s the point. Although – he is still a year or two from his prime – and he’s a leadoff hitter, which the Mutts desperately need.

    • Agee’s Catch

      I’m thinking that Alderson may have a trade in the works that is flying under the radar. Time will tell.

    • Andrew Lloyd

      You’re probably right. Anyway, my guess is he will prioritize finding a power hitter(s), if anything.

    • Reilly

      Absolutely, besides he’s only 25 and Met fans need to get over their fear of long-term contracts. Fact is Beltran had some very productive years for the Mets. Santana’s fastball speed had declined from his prime with the Twins, and perhaps Minaya should have taken a closer look. Considering Holliday was available as a free agent in 2010, Bay was a simply a poor choice. Holliday was a superior player as evidenced by the cntract he was offered and the # of teams interested. However, no one could have predicted Bay’s ineffectiveness. Bottom line, in this era, if we want to be competitive, we are going to need to take on some long-term contracts. Having said that, Andrus has been healthy his entire career and will only be 35 when his contract expires. This isconsiderably less risky than a long-term deal for an older guy like Pujols or an injury plagued guy like Reyes. And as Andrew stated, the Rangers very well might be willing to take on some of his contract. Worth trying.

  • Lenny

    Agree with Andrew. The Mets need to build this team around pitching.

  • Reilly

    Well stated Andrew.It’s not like the Mets don’t have the money, the franchise is valued in excess of $800mm. Andrus is only 25 and so far has been injury free, playing full time over the last 5 years. We have to get 2-3 players who can hit .270 or better. It would raise the level of everyone’s play. One only needs to study David Wright’s stats during 2006-08 to see that 1+1 can equal 3.

  • Ken Meoni

    I’d rather go for Profar. Give up Montero for him and another prospect. Everyone has tried to get Andrus and Texas just won’t give him up. Also, I would go for Pillar from the Blue Jays for Murphy and move Flores to 2B. The Mets would still have $ left over to do other things, like sign Mike Morse for 1B. and more. If they made those moves, I would be a happy Met fan.

  • AnakinCorleone

    I think either guy would be a good get. I’d trade either Wheeler or Syndergaard for Profar because it gets them out of the NL. I’d hate to deal them to Miami and then have to face them. I wouldn’t mind trading a reliever or a position player prospect within the division but not a starting pitcher that the Mets will have to face multiple times a season.

    Speaking of Miami, I doubt Stanton is available but I wonder if they’d be willing to trade one of their 3 OF prospects (Yelich, Ozuna, or Marisnick) for Flores straight up. I like Wilmer’s bat but think his best position is 3B. Marlins can’t have all three AND Stanton in their outfield.