The stalemate over Dozier, however, has prompted the Dodgers to cast a wide net in their search for a second baseman, according to major-league sources — a net that extends beyond two previous targets, the Tigers’ Ian Kinsler and Rays’ Logan Forsythe. Most of the Dodgers’ preferences are not known, but they’ve spoken with the Rangers about infielder Jurickson Profar, sources said. Two other switch-hitting second basemen — the Phillies’ Cesar Hernandez and Nationals’ Wilmer Difo -– would be potential fits, but it is not confirmed that they actually are on the Dodgers’ radar.
Kinsler and Forsythe have already been discussed, but Profar is somewhat of a new name. It always made sense to pursue him, but he was never actually involved in rumors … until now.
When trying to get a grasp for what can be expected of him, Jurickson Profar is a tough nut to crack, really.
Profar is entering his age-24 season and has 648 thoroughly mediocre plate appearances under his belt, leading to a .235/.311/.341/.652 slash. There was nothing spectacular about his defense or baserunning so far either, and he missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons after injuring the same shoulder three separate times (1/2/3).
Given all that, one would think he would just be seen as a utility player. Yet, we’re still here talking about him as a legitimate option at second base for a team with World Series hopes. Why? Because prior to the 2013 season he was the consensus top prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com, and ESPN. Baseball America even said about him at the time that, “Few prospects represent a safer bet to develop into a first-division regular and future all-star than Profar.” Now that he finally seems healthy, and after a 2016 of getting his baseball legs back, it seems like he could be primed for a breakout in 2017 that fulfills his potential.
So the production versus upside argument is definitely at play here, and the problem so far with teams trying to deal for Profar is that the Rangers want teams to pay more for the potential than what’s actually been going on.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2016
Profar will make $1.05 million in 2017 and is under team control for three seasons, but in return they were asking the Nationals for Joe Ross, who has five years of team control left, has looked the part of at least a mid-rotation starter going forward, and has already accumulated 3.5 WAR to Profar’s … well, 0.
The match with the Dodgers then would seem obvious with the team already reportedly agreeing to be willing to part with Jose De Leon for a second baseman. However, given that Ross had done a lot more than JDL has thus far, the Rangers will likely ask for more prospects to sweeten the deal as well. Needless to say, I’m not excited by this prospect. I was barely fine with trading, say, JDL, Brock Stewart, and a quality A-ball player for a second baseman coming off a 6-WAR season, and now the Dodgers are giving up potentially something similar for a 0-WAR career player and banking solely on past potential that originated three shoulder injuries and four years ago.
Seems less than ideal.
While I wouldn’t be surprised to see Profar breaking out in 2017, unless the Dodgers are going to get him at a more reasonable price, I can’t see the logic of paying for potential as if it’s already been realized while refusing to pay for production that’s already established. That’s especially true for a team in the Dodgers situation, where they need more of a clear upgrade than a player who’s just as likely to be a complete non-factor as a quality regular. So unless the demands of the Rangers have changed drastically, it seems like a much better idea to either revisit the Dozier trade or pursue options like Forsythe instead.