Texas Rangers

Jurickson Profar: ‘I’m going to be the same guy and try to do the same for my new team’

Texas Rangers first baseman Jurickson Profar is called out on strikes by home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom against the Tampa Bay Rays, Tuesday night, September 18, 2018 played at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX.
Texas Rangers first baseman Jurickson Profar is called out on strikes by home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom against the Tampa Bay Rays, Tuesday night, September 18, 2018 played at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. Special to the Star-Telegram

Temperatures on Friday in various towns in Curacao hovered around 80 degrees, which makes it hard to imagine that anyone could have had a bad day on the Caribbean island.

Someone almost certainly did, but it wasn’t Jurickson Profar.

He still gets to play baseball.

He was at his home in Curacao on Friday when Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels called to inform him that he had been traded to the Oakland A’s in a three-team deal that included the Tampa Bay Rays.

Profar will be missed and he’s going to miss the Rangers, but all that matters to him – as everyone has learned the past handful of years – is that he’s going to be playing baseball.

“I didn’t know which team it was, but I knew something like that was going to happen,” Profar said. “I still have to play. I love to play, so wherever I go I still have to be the same guy and I still have to help them win.”

The A’s have named Profar as their starting second baseman after being unable to reach terms with Jed Lowrie, who was an All-Star for them last year as they surged to a wild-card berth.

The Rangers, meanwhile, are left with a hole a third base, where Profar was expected to replace Adrian Beltre. Profar hit 20 home runs in 2018 in his first season with more than 500 at-bats, and he settled in a third late in the year after playing second, shortstop and some first base.

Patrick Wisdom, acquired during the winter meetings, is a candidate for the job, though Daniels expects to add, at minimum, someone to compete for the job.

Profar said that he has no issues with moving to second base, where the Rangers initially planned for him to play in 2014 before a shoulder injury cost him two seasons and opened the door for Rougned Odor to take the job.

With Odor in place and Elvis Andrus locked in a shortstop, Profar’s path to the big leagues was blocked and he was open to a trade as recently as last off-season.

“I wanted to play because I missed a couple years because of injury,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to go. And then last year, I had a chance to really play. As long as I’m playing, I’m good.”

The Rangers first started to courting Profar when he was 14 and signed him at age 16.

He picked the Rangers because they gave him a chance to play every day, while other teams wanted him to pitch. He developed into the top prospect in baseball before the shoulder injury derailed him.

Profar will be taking a lot of memories with him.

“I’m going to miss the organization,” said Profar, who turns 26 on Feb. 20. “I’m going to miss my friends on the team and all the fans. I didn’t know I had that many fans until today after I got traded.”

Daniels had given Profar a heads-up Wednesday that a trade was likely coming, a conversation that was a by-product of the relationship the team and the player have built over 11 years and through all the promise and all the pain.

The trade wasn’t an easy one emotionally for the Rangers to make.

“In a lot of circumstances he would be a building block, but with the way the service clock works, he’s two years from free agency. The business realities of it overcome the emotional side,” Daniels said.

“A lot of people from Mike Daly on the international side to our medical department and our big-league staff and everybody in between, poured a lot into him, and that part is challenging.”

The A’s make their first of three trips to Globe Life Park on April 12 for a three-game series, and Profar will try to beat the Rangers’ stirrups off.

“I understand. It’s a business,” Profar said. “It’s going to be that way, but I’m ready for this opportunity and I’m going to be the same guy and try to do the same for my new team.”

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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