Reports: Yanks & Profar?
A long-time target of the GM Brian Cashman, reports are out that Jurickson Profar is on the Yankees radar as a late free agent piece to add.
A History on Jurickson Profar:
Jurickson Profar was born on February 20th, 1993 in the capital city of Willemstad, Curaçao. A baseball player from a young age, he was a member of the 2004 and 2005 Curaçaoan Little League World Series teams, and just a few short years later (in 2009) he was signed as an international free agent by the Texas Rangers.
Starting his professional career in the minor leagues during the 2010 season, Profar was pushed early and immediately placed a Low-A ball- which is an untraditional spot for an international free agent to begin his professional career. However, he played very well and earned his way onto the back-end of two Top-100 prospect lists (Baseball America & Baseball Prospectus) to start the 2011 season. After another year in the minor leagues- played entirely at Class-A ball- Profar would again showcase his talents as a promising star and he not only earned recognition on all 3 major prospect boards (from the two prior publications; including MLB Pipeline), but he was a consensus Top-10 prospect going into 2012. Another bump happened that season as Profar spent his minor league time playing well at Double-A, which earned him his first call-up to the Major Leagues and also earned him the spot as the consensus best prospect in baseball going into the 2013 season.
Jurickson Profar would start the 2013 season playing ball in the Dominican Winter League, then play as a member of Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, then played in Triple-A, before becoming a mainstay at the MLB level with the Texas Rangers, starting in May. This was the beginning of the boom to stardom for the Curaçaoan athlete, now as a full-time player at the highest level of baseball. So much so that after the 2013 season, the Texas Rangers traded their long-time second baseman away to make room for the budding star.
And then, Profar injured his right shoulder ahead of the 2014 season. He was expected to come back midseason, but reinjured the shoulder during rehab and was ruled out for the rest of the 2014 season. After more rehab, Profar then also missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing surgery to repair his right shoulder. He missed 2 full seasons of playing in his prime developing years, and upon his return to baseball in 2016 he was optioned back down to Triple-A. For Profar, the best thing that happened that season was the infamous Rougned Odor-Jose Bautista punch. As Rougned Odor- who usurped the role as the everyday second baseman for the Texas Rangers- served a 7 game suspension for his boxing prowess, Jurickson Profar was called back up to the MLB and he played great and re-earned his spot on the MLB roster and was being transitioned into a super utility infield/outfield role.
The 2017 season was also tumultuous for Profar, who was optioned and recalled 4 times between Triple-A and the MLB during the year, though it was due to lackluster performance and not injury. However, in 2018, Profar- in his first full MLB season- finally had the opportunity to prove himself as a serious player while producing as a better-than-league-average hitter and playing across the infield and in left field. After this season, Profar was traded to the Oakland Athletics. his 2019 season was sub-par and he was traded to the San Diego Padres ahead of the 2020 season.
A solid 2020 (shortened) season with the Padres earned Jurickson Profar a 3 Year/$21 Million contract to stay with the San Diego Padres, during which he has continued to play in a super utility role, though spent all of 2022 playing in left field. As structured in the contract, Profar exercised his player option and opted out of his final year at $7.5 Million for 2023.
The Stats on Jurickson Profar:
Jurickson Profar has spent the last 3 seasons (2019-2022) with the San Diego Padres as he's really started to come into his own as a full-time player at the MLB level. He has played in 345 games while hitting to a .244/.333/.375/.707 quadruple slash (103 OPS+) with 270 hits, 26 home runs, 89 extra base hits, 22 stolen bases (7 times caught), and 137 walks to 196 strikeouts. This has led him to +4.4 bWAR and +3.1 fWAR.
Across his entire career, Profar has played in parts of 9 MLB seasons (2012-13; 2016-2022) and ha splayed in 836 games. During this time he has hit to a .238/.322/.386/.708 quadruple slash (94 OPS+) alongside 648 hits, 78 home runs, 232 extra base hits, 46 stolen bases (14 times caught), and 304 walks to 501 strikeouts. As a career, he has +6.3 bWAR and +6.0 fWAR.
Jurickson Profar is one of the many "white whales" of the Captain Ahab of the New York Yankees ship, Brian Cashman. Other recent players in that same category of year-in and year-out rumors of the Yankees general manager being interested are Gerrit Cole (who he managed to sign) and Kyle Schwarber. Ultimately, it seems that Cashman is in the "Meatloaf Scenario" where he has to decide if signing or not signing 2 out of 3 is or ain't bad.
Jokes aside, the idea of bringing in Jurickson Profar to the New York Yankees is an interesting one. In the past few seasons, a positive shift has happened for Profar in terms of abilities to avoid injury and also an ability to produce both in the plate and in the field. Especially now that he put up a whole season as a left fielder with defensive metrics that aren't horrendous, there could be a future here. (Especially with Harrison Bader serving as some extra insurance coming out of center field.)
Jurickson Profar is a switch-hitting, contact-first batter who has a very good ability to take a walk and avoid strikeouts. He's a very different type of hitter than the Yankees have gone after in recent years and could very well add a new depth to the line-up. He's not a speed-first player either, which means that his skill set should not be expected to drop off a cliff in the immediate future.
I'm not going to sell this as the "super deal" for the Yankees to get to shore up left field in the case that Oswaldo Cabrera is not the heir apparent to a vacant left field after Brett Gardner's leave. However, it's also not a bad option for the Yankees if they can grab a player on the right side of 30, on a short term deal for decent money, with a new type of hitting ability to add confusion on approach for opposing pitchers.
If it gets done, then it is likely a positive for the Yankees. If it doesn't, it's also not like they're missing out on something great. Getting Jurickson Profar would be a great extra-piece move for this team. Not a "solve-all" move, but a solid baseball operations move.