The Rangers are going with a three-man bench after dropping Alberto Gonzalez from the roster last week. That’s expected to change next week, and when it does, top prospect Jurickson Profar could get the call, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports.
Profar, widely regarded as the top position prospect in the minors, has hit .283/.362/.463 with 13 homers and 15 steals for Double-A Frisco this season. The native of Curacao will replace Bryce Harper as MLB’s youngest player once he debuts. Born on Feb. 20, 1993, he’s four months younger than Harper.
While Profar projects as an above average defensive shortstop, the Rangers have prepared him at second base in case he’s initially needed elsewhere. He’s played 21 games there this season and one at third base.
The Rangers still might want to wait until September to promote Profar, figuring that there is very little playing time available for him in the infield at the moment. Until Frisco’s season concludes, it will make more sense to get him 25 at-bats per week in the minors than it would five in the majors.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.