This isn’t about Jurickson Profar‘s limitless potential as an everyday shortstop for the Texas Rangers. That’s a whole ‘nother sad, sad situation entirely.
This is about Jon Daniels not trading Profar for David Price.
In case you missed it, the 2013 top prospect in Major League Baseball will officially have surgery on the shoulder he’s been trying to rehab and rehab for over a year now. He will likely miss the whole season…again. Let’s cut to the narrative.
Back in early 2013 the Texas Rangers were coming off a disappointing season that 20+ other clubs would love to have. They lost to the Baltimore Orioles (and Joe frikkin Saunders) in the NFL-style winner take all Wild Card Round.
But this season was coming off of that season. You know, with that game.
Until that season is forgotten, everything falling short of the Commissioner’s Trophy will certainly sting.
Despite the early Postseason exit and thus less Bruce Springsteen to lead into TBS Rangers broadcasts, the Rangers had several things to sort out, many more than years past.
During the offseason two of three in the latest “Where/When/Who is Michael Young gonna play for?”
Replacing C.J. Wilson‘s productivity in the starting rotation.
But the topic soaring above all else seemed to be what the Rangers would do with Jurickson Profar.
The 19-year old super prospect cracked the Big Leagues at the end of 2012 and was impressive, albeit not numerically but showing jaw-dropping maturity and physical tools for someone so young.
Jurickson Profar wasn’t really ready, but he was close. And if he was brought up to begin 2013 he would certainly have been better than most of the league’s shortstops. As someone who watched a lot of Profar at AA Frisco in 2012, he really was impressive. There was a fine chance he could be the real deal. #Chance #Could
At the end of the day, there wasn’t yet a spot for him, and the middle infield was saddled with a long-term deal (Kinsler) and somebody GM Jon Daniels was about to throw $120 million dollars at (Andrus).
At the same time, the budget-constricted Tampa Bay Rays were shopping David Price, even though he had just won the Cy Young.
Price was becoming everything the Rays could have hoped for when they selected him first overall in 2007. But because of the financial burdens placed on one of the smallest market teams in MLB, they also had their number two pitcher James Shields on the block.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Their shortstop position was wide open for the taking, making Profar a perfect fit.
ESPN prospect insider Keith Law said the deal ultimately would make sense, but the Rays –not the Rangers– would need to add Price (rather than Texas building the usual multiple-prospect package around Profar) to complete the trade.
In the end, no deal happened, Profar started the year in AAA, Price had another Cy Young caliber year (despite some injuries causing him to throw 24.8 less IP) and James Shields was the one traded.
Shields was dealt in a stunning transaction to the up-and-coming Kansas City Royals for Wil Myers, a prospect with the same steam and value of Jurickson Profar.
Grantland called the move “A Royal Blunder” that “made no sense.”
Wil Myers won American League Rookie of the Year, proving he’s a potential star in the making.
The Royals didn’t make the playoffs but went 86-76, finishing over .500 for the first time since 2003. James Shields finished 10th in Cy Young voting.
Wil Myers had an injury riddled, troublesome 2014. James Shields helped lead the Kansas City Royals to their first World Series berth in 29 years.
Yes, Shields signed with a different team –the San Diego Padres– this offseason. Ironically, Wil Myers was also traded to the Padres.
So it did turn out to be a two-year rental. But, the city will never forget what it felt like to return to winning baseball. KC still has a ton of young talent and now a winning culture has been put in place, something that is so so so very underrated in sports.
It’s atypical to trade top prospects, but if you don’t have the room for them, and a bonafide staff ace is available, you should take the chance. After all, that’s what prospects are. A chance. One in hundred turn out to be good. One in a thousand turn out to be great.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jurickson Profar’s future still may be very, very bright. He turned 22 on Friday. 22.
But the lesson has been learned the hard way, very hard.
His recovery is beside the point, we want that and we hope for his recovery and we cross our fingers for that. But, you get attached to your prospects.
There are few things more exciting in the sports world than an up and coming star. But the odds are still against it, no matter how high his potential is.
The odds are much, much better on a 26-year old Cy Young Award winner.
As Iron Man 2’s Justin Hammer said, sometimes you gotta “learn to let go.”
Hindsight is clearly 20/20, but the chips were all in place to take the calculated risk.
So really, it should have been.