With the season essentially over for the Toronto Blue Jays it is probably time to turn our attention to the impending trade season. If the Texas Rangers approached Alex Anthopoulos about acquiring Jose Bautista and offered Jurickson Profar, what would you do? I can hear both fan bases screaming passionately already, which makes me think it could actually benefit both sides.
Texas fans will say that there is no way an outfielder who turns 33 is worth arguably the best overall prospect in baseball, especially one capable of playing shortstop. Some Toronto fans could say there is no way a minor league prospect that hasn’t had an OPS above 900 at any level is worth our franchise slugger Joey Bats.
But what if, for argument sake, this deal was actually proposed?
Jurickson Profar is in the major leagues at the tender age of 20, while not as rare as it once was is still an accomplishment. He is actually three years than our very own third basemen Brett Lawrie to give a little perspective.
Profar has all the tools scouts dream of for a middle of the infield prospect.
From Scouting Book:
A two-way player and 2004 Little League star who most preferred as a pitcher, righthander Jurickson Profar was signed as an international free agent in 2009. At the time, the teen was blessed with a 94mph heater and a slider that could have matured into a real plus pitch, but the Rangers were determined to make a shortstop out of him. Only two seasons off the mound later, he was showing off every tool in the box, including a ridiculously-advanced batting eye for a teenager. Profar crushed the minor leagues in 2012, starting in A-ball and ending up with a taste of life on the MLB roster with the Rangers before the end of the year. A real future superstar in the making, it’s hard to rate this kid too highly: he looks like nothing less than a switch-hitting Justin Upton, from the off-the-charts raw talent to the off-the-charts rawness. Just turned twenty, he’s nonetheless ready to compete for a job now, and he should be scary-good in another year or two.
Prospect guru John Sickels wrote this:
He does all the stuff you want a prospect to do. He hits for a solid average. He hits for power, good power for a shortstop anyway. He steals bases, and he does it at a sabermetrically-sound percentage. He draws walks. He plays excellent defense. He works hard, thrives under pressure, is highly intelligent, and has a great personality. Jurickson Profar does not do the things that you don’t want a prospect to do. He doesn’t strike out too much. He doesn’t swing at pitches three feet off the plate. He doesn’t run himself into outs. He doesn’t make a huge number of errors. He doesn’t snarl at the press or alienate his teammates.
Take all the positive things, and the lack of negative things, and combine that with a guy who has been very young for his levels and you have, well, Jurickson Profar. With Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Manny Machado safely ensconced in the majors, Profar is now the best prospect in baseball. With additional physical maturity, this is a guy who could win Gold Gloves while hitting .300, hitting 15 homers, stealing 20 bases, drawing 80 walks, and charming puppies and kittens and beat reporters all across North America.
However the Texas Rangers currently employ Elvis Andrus as their everyday shortstop and are committed to him to the tune of $131 million over the next ten years. They also have Ian Kinsler currently manning the keystone corner and are also fully invested for five years and $85 million.
Jurickson Profar has the most value as a shortstop and given the Texas Rangers are currently in win-now mode might ultimately be most valuable as a trade chip. Others have proposed Profar as a part of a package for the Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Dave Cameron mused about a possible super-prospect swap for one of the other premiere youngsters in baseball St. Louis Cardinals OF Oscar Tavaras.
Miami would have to fold the team (well) if they moved Giancarlo Stanton without receiving a king’s ransom (and then some) and could prove to be too costly. Not to mention he hasn’t exactly hit like a star this season and has battled injuries. Oscar Tavaras is considered the best hitting prospect in the game but that type of move is rarely made and doesn’t present an immediate upgrade for a team with championship ambitions.
This brings us to the Toronto Blue Jays and more specifically Jose Bautista, one of baseball’s most feared sluggers. He possesses patience, plate discipline, awareness and prodigious power. He would instantly become the Texas Rangers best run producer and would slot in nicely as the clean-up man.
While the Rogers Centre has certainly become a hitter’s park imagine the type of damage Jose Bautista could do on a daily basis playing in Arlington? Jurickson Profar has the chance to be one of the better all-around middle infielders in baseball. Possibly a guy who one day can hit around .300, pop 15 homeruns, play great defence at a premium position and add a few stolen bases.
Jose Bautista has the ability to mash – now. His contract is still very team friendly and he is only 32 years old. He plays the game hard and is a half-way decent option in right field with a strong, accurate arm. He has also shown the ability to play 3b and 1b when the need arises and could permanently replace Nelson Cruz in the outfield or Mitch Moreland at first.
Here are Bautista’s stats so far this season:
A few problems with this theory, first the Texas Rangers aren’t struggling to score runs (4.76 runs per game). Second they have dealt with a rash of injuries to their starting rotation. Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis haven’t thrown a meaningful inning and Alexi Ogando has looked solid in the rotation this season when not on the disabled list.
Depending on the prognosis for the above mentioned arms perhaps acquiring a young starting pitcher would be a necessity in any move for the Texas Rangers. That is where the Toronto Blue Jays cannot help unless Alex Anthopoulos wanted to lose his job and add Aaron Sanchez to the mix.
Given the amount of young arms that have been moved in the past twelve months in various trades and an injury to one of our most promising young arms (Roberto Osuna) I do not see that happening. But I digress.
It certainly would be an intriguing trade and at the very least makes for good conversation and gossip. With Jose Bautista healthy (knock on wood) and producing at such a lofty level again this could be a great opportunity for the Blue Jays to maximize value on Jose while they can.
Profar is a great looking young talent but Bautista hasn’t exactly been a scrub. Jose Bautista was worth 6.5 fWAR in 2010, 7.8 fWAR in 2011 and thru a combined 140 games in 2012/13 has been worth a cool 5.4 fWAR. Those are impressive numbers and nothing to sneeze at.
While it would be painful to move a talented, young and cheap major league ready talent like Jurickson Profar the allure of adding one of the top sluggers in the game could be tempting and I’ve heard crazier rumours. With the Blue Jays seemingly out of playoff contention get ready for the beginning of the endless trade talk, rumours and speculation.
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