Monday, February 11, 2013
Where will Jurickson Profar end up?
By Richard Durrett
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- I'm starting to wonder if the biggest name at Texas Rangers spring training in 2013 is Jurickson Profar. And he's not even here yet.
Yu Darvish is starting to seem like old news, especially when he showed up this morning with no Japanese media to welcome him. It was just four Rangers beat writers and Darvish said a quick hello and headed to the field. There's no more Josh Hamilton here. Zack Greinke is in camp with the Dodgers.
A recent survey reveals that the Rangers are more popular than the Cowboys. Coop & Nate discuss.
But what happens with Profar, the No. 1-ranked prospect according to ESPN.com's Keith Law, is one of the key questions the club must answer this spring. And Profar's situation has plenty of question marks.
Manager Ron Washington added another one on Monday, saying he has "no intentions" of playing him in the outfield. The skipper said it just days after general manager Jon Daniels floated the idea that Profar could see some time in the outfield. The idea is to make him as versatile as possible, increasing his chances of making the club on the bench.
Daniels' response: "He's (Profar) a middle infielder. I was simply saying that we're open to anything, and versatility is a plus."
The Profar saga is certainly interesting. Washington admitted on Monday that he'll learn from previous seasons and make adjustments.
"It’s no different than a player being a manager -- you make mistakes and you try not to do the same thing again," Washington said. "So hopefully we can keep these guys stronger as we move through the year, but you’re only going to get where you want to go by saddling up your horses and riding them.
"We certainly need to improve our bench, and if we improve our bench, that could certainly help us getting these guys a break a little more than they have gotten in the past."
That last part is key. Washington wants to rest his regulars. But he has to have a bench he's confident in so that he can do that. And here goes a circle. Washington likes Profar and believes in him. Having him on the bench would give Washington confidence. But is having Profar on the bench best for Profar? If he's on the roster, Washington would have to commit to finding a way to play him at least three or four times every day for that to even begin to be feasible. Maybe that's not even enough to justify doing it.
Versatility could be the factor in Profar getting enough chances rather than sitting on the bench. If outfield is out of the mix, would that decrease his chances to get on the field? Maybe.
But the fact that the bench has been a weak spot on this club in the past has the front office and coaching staff not dismissing the notion that Profar could be on the bench.
It's also unclear how Profar's decision on the World Baseball Classic would impact his chances. First he said he wasn't playing. Now, he's undecided and will let the club know when he arrives this week.
Stay tuned. One thing is certain: With Profar, anything is possible.