Texas Rangers trade rumors: Jurickson Profar worked in the outfield today, in advance of tonight's game, but made it clear nonetheless that that's not where he wants to play, saying he expects to be a starting shortstop either later this season or next season, and saying he would welcome a trade if it made the Rangers better and gives him the chance to be an everyday shortstop.
That is quite the gauntlet being thrown down by Profar, since it essentially is an assertion that either he goes or incumbent shortstop Elvis Andrus goes, though he apparently acknowledged he's a "prime trade candidate." What the Rangers now have to decide is whether these expressions of desire -- or discontent, depending on how you view it -- are going to impact how they proceed with him right now. There's been indications that the Rangers don't see anyone on the market that is worth Profar, and having him get work in the outfield seemed to indicate that they are at least considering him being in a super-utility-type role for the rest of the year.
It does not, however, sound like Profar would be on board with a super-utility role beyond the immediate term. Elvis Andrus is under contract at $15M per year through 2020, $14M per year for 2021 and 2022, and a vesting option for 2023 at $15M that is guaranteed if he is traded. Elvis also has the right to opt out of the deal after 2018 and 2019. The Rangers would have to absorb some money on Elvis's deal if they wanted to move him and get anything of note in return, which makes trading him problematic. And you are also talking about someone who is very popular in the clubhouse and who is having a strong season, while there are still, it seems, at least some internal concerns within the Rangers organization about whether Profar can handle shortstop on a long-term basis.
It is a bit unusual for a young player to make such a public statement about wanting to be a starter at a position where a veteran is entrenched, but Profar is an unusual player, and has never lacked for confidence. Texas will now have to decide whether to grant him his wish, either by trading him or trading Elvis, or if they prefer to hold onto him and have him play something other than his preferred position.