Daniels addresses Profar situation

Daniels addresses Profar situation

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The saga of infielder Jurickson Profar moves into another offseason without a resolution in sight.

Profar's future remains murky as the Rangers ponder holding on to him for insurance or attempting to cut their losses by including him in a trade. It has become a tedious script for a player who was once considered baseball's top Minor League prospect (2013) before missing two full seasons (2014-15) because of a shoulder injury.

But Profar is out of options, and that means he must be on the team in some capacity or be exposed to outright waivers.

"I think the exact fit on our team next season is still undetermined," general manager Jon Daniels said at the GM Meetings. "He's out of options; he'll be on the club."

That is, unless he is traded this winter or spring. That was once considered unthinkable. Now it has become quite difficult given how far Profar's value has dropped over the past four years.

"We get asked about our infield a decent amount," Daniels said. "We've got to be aware also that we've got a shortstop that has the ability to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, we've got a third baseman in the last year of his contract, so we're not necessarily looking to move Jurickson."

Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre do offer added mystery to Profar's situation. Andrus is signed through 2022 but has the option of opting out of his contract after either next season or 2019 and becoming a free agent. Beltre is unsigned beyond 2018 as he approaches possible retirement.

Then there's second baseman Rougned Odor, who hit .204 last season with 33 home runs, 32 walks, 162 strikeouts, a .252 on-base percentage and a .397 slugging percentage. Beyond the home runs, those are subpar numbers even if he is signed through 2022.

Those are three reasons why the Rangers can publicly put forth the idea that they might keep Profar, even if it's as a little-used utility infielder, instead of Drew Robinson. That stance allows the Rangers to project a lack of urgency toward the idea of trading Profar, even if there was interest.

Profar was the Opening Day left fielder last season, but the short-lived idea of using him in the outfield seems to have receded from the 2018 blueprint.

Profar, 24, spent most of 2017 at Triple-A Round Rock, playing shortstop regularly and hitting .287 with a .383 on-base percentage and .428 slugging percentage. The Rangers decided against calling him up in September, a move that kept him under four years of Major League service time.

That means a club would get three years of control in a trade for Profar if he is still viewed as a potential everyday player and the team has an opening for a middle infielder. The Padres are possibly looking for a shortstop, according to MLB.com's A.J. Cassavell, and their GM, A.J. Preller, worked for the Rangers back when Profar was a hot prospect. But the Padres might just need a short-term solution, with star prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. perhaps just a year away from the Majors.

"We're open to talking about a variety of guys if it helps us move forward," Daniels said. "Otherwise [Profar] will be on our team. Of our big league guys, we've probably been asked about our infield and our relievers most. That's what this time of year is, it's time to inquire. We let each other know who we like, and whether anything develops, we'll see."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.