The Rangers call up top prospect Jurickson Profar

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Today is September 1, which means rosters can be expanded to include anyone on a team’s 40-man roster. With that in mind, we should see plenty of prospects and minor league veterans added to rosters over the next couple of days. We likely aren’t going to see big names like Dylan Bundy, Billy Hamilton and Wil Myers this month, but the Rangers are calling up Jurickson Profar, who is widely regarded the game’s top position prospect.

Bryce Harper was previously the youngest player in the big leagues, but that title now goes to Profar, who is four months younger and doesn’t turn 20 until next February. Yes, we have 1993 birthdays in MLB now. Try not to get too depressed by that.

Profar, a 6-foot-0 switch-hitter, batted .281/.368/.452 with 14 home runs, 62 RBI, 16 stolen bases and an .820 OPS in 126 games this season with Double-A Frisco. The Curacao native is blocked by Elvis Andrus at shortstop and by Ian Kinsler at second base, so he’s expected to serve as a backup middle infielder down the stretch and possibly during the postseason. But hey, at least Mike Olt has someone to hang out with on the bench.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?