Mets should set sights on Rangers’ Jurickson Profar


The likely departure of second baseman Daniel Murphy to free agency means there is a need for a middle infielder on the Mets next season. Ideally the Mets would look to add a legitimate shortstop while letting Wilmer Flores and Dilson Herrera duke it out for the full time second base job. Names such as Ian Desmond and Alexei Ramirez exist on the free agent market but neither are ideal options.

Desmond is not a very good defensive shortstop and his offensive numbers have slipped the last two seasons while Ramirez has lost a step or two at the age of 34 causing his defense to deteriorate.The only way the Mets can add a true difference maker at the position is if they find one via trade. The Mets inquired on Andrelton Simmons before he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but understandably balked at requests from the Braves to include Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom in a potential deal. Shortstops are becoming increasingly harder to find and there are probably very few realistic options currently on the market.

One team I do think the Mets match up well with is the Texas Rangers. The Rangers currently have a glut of middle infielders within the system between Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar. Andrus is in the second year of an eight year, $118 million dollar contract and would have an extremely tough time trying to find a buyer if they wanted to move him. Jon Heyman recently reported that the Rangers desire to work out a long time deal with Odor, who has impressed so far in his young major league career.

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If the Rangers truly see Andrus and Odor as their future up the middle for the next half decade, that leaves Profar in an unfavorable situation. The Rangers could certainly allow Profar get back to game speed and establish his value before they look to move him. If you recall, Baseball America ranked Profar as their number one prospect after the 2012 season and had this to say about him at the time:

“He takes a disciplined approach to hitting, with strong knowledge of the strike zone that ought to make him a consistent .300 hitter in his prime. An above-average defender at shortstop, Profar has instincts that outstrip his plus range. His hands and arm are above-average as well.”

You have to take all the scouting reports with a grain of salt, however, as three injury-plagued years have passed. Who knows what kind of player he is right now and will be in the future. He needs to get back into game action and display just that. There is reason for optimism, though, as he is just 22 years old even after all the shoulder issues he’s been dealing with over the past few seasons. Those problems seem to be on the horizon, at least, as he is currently playing games as a designated hitter in the Arizona Fall League. The Rangers seem to be wisely easing him back into game action after he underwent surgery for a torn labrum on his throwing shoulder in February of this year. Once he feels confident enough with that shoulder to make high effort throws consistently, they’ll probably take the leash off. His .313 batting average and nine RBI’s in the AFL lead me to believe he’s feeling pretty good.

At the right price, Profar should be a risk the Mets are willing to take as you don’t get the opportunity to trade for a highly touted player at a premium position very often. The key words, obviously, are “at the right price.” If Texas is going to be unreasonable and demand Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard then the Mets should hang up the phone. If they can agree on someone like Zack Wheeler, who’s working his way back from an injury of his own, they might be able to get something done.

The Rangers don’t have much in the way of starting pitching after Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels so Zack Wheeler could be an attractive option to add depth to the rotation for the next few years while not having to sacrifice anybody from the current major league roster. The Mets can afford to give up Zack Wheeler because Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz have all established themselves as mainstays in the rotation and Jon Niese is under control for another season.

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This is an idea that should be entertained by both sides because each of these teams made the playoffs in 2015 and don’t need much to make it back next season. The Mets have an opportunity to add a young, dynamic, under control player who could help them out on both sides of the ball and both sides of the plate (he’s a switch hitter) in time and would allow them to attack the free agent market harder for better outfield options than Denard Span or Dexter Fowler. It’s a risk, for sure, but sometimes you need to make bold moves like this when you have limited financial resources to spend on free agency. Hopefully, Sandy Alderson has already picked up the phone and made this call.