After missing two full seasons with shoulder problems, Jurickson Profar made his long-awaited return to the Texas Rangers roster this past summer, and even though his role for 2017 remains unclear, general manager Jon Daniels doesn’t anticipate moving the resilient 23-year-old this offseason.
“Looking back at where we were a year ago at this time, two years ago, we are thrilled with the year that he had,” Daniels told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan earlier this week. “Huge contribution after not playing for two years because of his shoulder issues and surgery. As we sit here today, I expect him to be a part of the club in a winning role. Is there an everyday job the way we are set up now? I don’t know.
Profar, the consensus top prospect in baseball as recently as 2013, was once considered an integral part of the Rangers’ future, but a torn right shoulder muscle suffered in spring training of 2014 derailed his ascent to stardom, and the club found other linchpins in the two years he spent recovering.
Now, as 2017 looms, Profar’s path to playing time is murky, with Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor entrenched in the middle infield. Upon rejoining the Rangers in May, Profar was used in a utility role, spending time at every infield position as well as left field, but he made it clear to Daniels that he wants to be an everyday shortstop.
That probably won’t happen, though, Daniels hinted, and with Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland both liable to sign elsewhere as free agents this winter, Profar will probably reprise his role as a utility player in 2017.
“I think he could play every day at a variety of spots,” Daniels said. “I think he can play regularly or semi-regularly and move around. It’s really going to depend on the makeup of the club.”
It will also depend on Profar’s bat. Last year, after two years away from seeing major-league pitching, Profar hit just .239/.321/.338 with five home runs, six doubles, and three triples in 90 games before riding the bench for the entirety of their fruitless American League Division Series showdown with the Toronto Blue Jays. Since making his debut with Texas in 2012, at age 19, Profar owns just a .652 OPS (75 OPS+) with 12 homers in 184 games.
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