The mid-afternoon Texas Rangers buzz Monday at the winter meetings, not too long after the Chris Martin news broke, is that the Rangers and New York Mets were discussing a swap involving everyone’s favorite trade piece, Jurickson Profar, and right-hander Matt Harvey.
Profar has no starting role with the Rangers in 2018, but will be on the roster because he is out of options. Harvey has had multiple injuries, some misbehavior and mostly bad results since the Mets’ run to the World Series in 2015, and he’s a free agent after 2018.
The buzz was then quickly poo-pooed by one of the originators of the rumor as well as T.R. Sullivan of mlb.com. “Many obstacles to overcome,” or something like that, with the primary one being it really doesn’t make any sense for the Rangers.
One, the Rangers are looking to upgrade their rotation. The latest versions of Harvey just don’t do that. The Rangers could do better in free agency — or with Matt Bush — at the same price as Harvey’s projected $5.9 million in arbitration.
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That’s a good number for the Mets, who could find an equal to Profar at second base without creating a hole in their rotation.
Two, the Rangers could have actual need for Profar. He is under club control for three more seasons, so he figures to be affordable. He is also a very good defensive shortstop and would be a reasonable replacement if Elvis Andrus opts out of his contract after 2018 and goes elsewhere.
Profar wouldn’t be as good of a replacement at third base for Adrian Beltre if his time with the Rangers ends in 2018, but Profar can play the position if the Rangers were to decide to keep Joey Gallo at first base or left field.
“The reality is we have a left side of the infield that both have the contractual ability to be free at the end of the year,” general manager Jon Daniels said Monday during his daily powwow with the beat guys. “As we get asked about some of these guys, that’s something we’re factoring in. Not just their role today but the possibilities of where we could be a year from now.”
All that said, the Rangers would trade Profar if the right deal comes along. They would have traded him last off-season and at the past two trade deadlines if the right deals had come along.
(A club official rebuked the story that Profar threw a hissy fit when he wasn’t dealt at the trade deadline.)
He still has value to some, primarily because of the upside and the control. While he didn’t play much with the Rangers in 2017, he had a nice season at Triple A Round Rock and was worthy of the September call-up he didn’t get.
So, maybe Profar does go elsewhere this off-season. But to the Mets for Harvey?
“Many obstacles to overcome,” or something like that.