Darvish, a top international free agent signee from Japan in 2012 and Profar, baseball’s consensus top prospect that same year, were expected to form a core of winning baseball in Arlington for years to come.
The Texas Rangers had just come off back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011, with the anticipation of more success on the way.
Now, nearly 10 years since they debuted at then-Globe Life Park together, Yu Darvish and Jurickson Profar may find themselves to be teammates once again.
But this time, not as Texas Rangers. Instead, as San Diego Padres.
In December, the Padres, run by former Rangers executive AJ Preller, acquired Darvish from the reeling Chicago Cubs in a salary dump-esque trade.
Since then, San Diego has continued to bolster their roster, and they’re not done yet.
Jurickson Profar, who spent 2020 with the Padres, could soon find himself back at Petco Park.
Though Profar has never truly reached the potential he was destined to attain since being baseball’s top prospect, he has found something of a niche for himself since leaving Texas, becoming a versatile utility man for two California teams (Oakland and San Diego) over the last several years.
Darvish, who was traded to the LA Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline, signed on with the Cubs in 2018 and channeled his dominant form in the second half of 2019 and 2020, culminating in a second place finish in the NL Cy Young voting for the latter year.
The two former prodigies, now much more advanced in years and MLB experience, could once again join forces to propel a burgeoning Padres team to contention in the National League in 2021.
Seeing as this reality could come to fruition, it’s fair to ask “what could’ve been” for the Texas Rangers had both Darvish and Profar reached their full talent levels and stayed healthy.
Perhaps a run at a third straight pennant in 2012? Maybe a fourth straight in 2013? Maybe more?
A core built around a dominant strikeout artist and a blossoming young infielder to pair with a squad more than equipped to handle the rigors of a World Series could’ve made the Texas Rangers the team of the 2010s.
Alas, that title belongs to the San Francisco Giants, who won three championships in the 2010s, or the Boston Red Sox, who won two during the last decade.
Yu Darvish had a nice career in Texas. Profar’s tenure in Arlington wasn’t quite as memorable as it was heavily anticipated, at least initially.
Both players could cross paths again in San Diego in hopes of ending that franchise’s World Series drought in 2021.
And to think, it could’ve been them ending the Texas Rangers’ quest for a World Series.