The San Diego Padres traded for Oakland Athletic 2B Jurickson Profar Monday. While he had a subpar 2019 season, there is reason to believe Profar can bounce back in 2020.
Last season, the Padres got very little production out of 2B, trying veteran Ian Kinsler and eventually giving INF prospect Luis Urias a shot to win the job. Neither was great, but with Kinsler signed through 2020, the Padres decided to move Urias in a deal with Milwaukee last week and needed an upgrade at the position.
Enter Jurickson Profar, who was on the verge of being non-tendered by Oakland and was shipped to San Diego in exchange for C Austin Allen and PTBNL.
Profar posted disappointing numbers for Oakland last season, despite hitting 20 home runs for the second consecutive season. The 26-year-old former top prospect saw his OPS fall from .793 in 2018 to .711 in 2019. Sadly, those numbers are still an upgrade for San Diego, which suffered from a black hole at 2B in 2019.
A wrinkle in this move is the familiarity of Profar with the San Diego front office, particularly general manager A.J. Preller, who knows the infielder from their days with the Rangers.
Defensively, Profar was once considered a potentially elite defender at SS, but last season with the A’s, the 26-year-old committed 13 errors at second and was worth -10 defensive runs saved, per Fangraphs. So while the upside is there for Profar, Preller would be smart to continue to add more players to his roster and keep expectations low for the former top Rangers prospect.
In Profar’s 2018 season, he slashed .254/.335/.458 with 20 HRs, 82 runs scored and posted a 2.8 fWAR for the Rangers. It’s not exactly what many expected from the former top prospect, but those are solid numbers from a second baseman.
In a lineup that includes Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Eric Hosmer, the Padres really just need a speedy on-base threat — something Profar has the tools to be good at.
A low-risk move for a player the Padres’ front office is extremely familiar with isn’t a bad move, especially when looking back at how awful their 2B played last season. Profar, at the very least, is a talented utility player who has played all over the infield and has shown he can play in the outfield as well. It’s a good pickup for San Diego that has the potential to look even better should Profar produce closer to his 2018 numbers.