SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Even if Jurickson Profar doesn't secure a bench job in the big leagues this season, he made a difficult and smart decision this weekend, opting out of the World Baseball Classic despite plenty of pressure from fans in his native Curacao.
Honestly, I'm still betting that Profar starts the season at Triple-A Round Rock. I just don't see how a bench role could carve out enough at-bats and playing time to justify the young infielder (he turns 20 on Wednesday) staying in the big leagues, assuming there aren't any injuries. But things happen in the spring. Injuries and trades can still occur.
"He understands that he’s competing for a bench role and that it would have to be more meaningful than a traditional bench role to make sense for him, I think," Daniels said. "We’ll see. Things happen.
“He comes out and does what he’s capable of doing and demonstrates to the staff that he’s someone that can help us and Wash wants him on the club and feels he can find enough playing time for him where it makes sense, then that’s something we’ll discuss.”
With Elvis Andrus playing for Venezuela in the WBC, Profar will have some additional chances to play shortstop in Cactus League games. He'll get a full spring of instruction from manager Ron Washington (who was out with Profar and other infielders for extra work this morning) and the other Rangers coaches and can show off his skills to the group of folks who will determine -- whether it's now or in the future -- when he heads to the big leagues for good.
Even if the best thing for Profar is to play every day in Round Rock and get at-bats and consistent time, he's making the right call by staying in Surprise. There's no guarantee, of course, that Profar will get another chance to play in the WBC. But he's got a high ceiling and if he stays healthy, you've got to think he will get future opportunities to play for his country.
Now, Daniels is hoping everyone will just let Profar go about his business and get ready for the season.
"It’s not going to be a day-to-day posting of a percentage of him making the club and where his at-bats are going to come," Daniels said. "Just let this thing play out. Let him play. Let everyone else play. We’ll see what happens. There are different ways of utilizing different players and we’ll see."