GM: Jurickson Profar could make team if he has 'meaningful role'

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels reiterated Tuesday that Jurickson Profar could make the 2013 big league club if he has a "meaningful role" on the team. So what does "meaningful role" mean? Daniels wasn't quite ready to nail that down.

"We're not interested in having a young prospect sit on the bench and play 30 games over the course of a season," Daniels said. "But there are different ways to look at it."

Would 100 games be enough?

"I can't put a number on it at this point," Daniels said. "We'll let it play out."

The kind of bench role that could put Profar in the big leagues would require versatility. Manager Ron Washington indicated Monday that Profar wouldn't get time in the outfield. Daniels only stressed that playing different positions would be key if Profar is to cobble together the type of job that would be worth him playing in the big leagues at the start of 2013.

"These guys are athletes, and versatility and athleticism are assets on the bench," Daniels said. "They allow you to get in games. Profar is an infielder. We see him that way. Would it shock me at some point to see guys play different positions for the benefit of the team? No. Are we planning on working him in right field on a regular basis? No. But that's all I meant."

The role that the club might have in mind off the bench as a utility player normally goes to a veteran because of all that's required.

"You have to be able to play different positions on different days, come off the bench, defend, pinch run, know the cutoffs and relays and bunt defenses at multiple positions," Daniels said. "The manager has to have confidence to put you in a game at different spots. Those are things that I have full expectations he can do, but he hasn't had to do them."

What Profar does in terms of the World Baseball Classic could have an impact. He'd be gone at least a week during pool play in Taiwan in early March and it could be longer if The Netherlands advance, which is possible. Profar said he'd let the club know once he arrives later this week.

"I probably put him in a bad spot," Daniels said. "He had indicated that he was leaning toward coming to camp and competing for a job. I probably shouldn't have told everybody that. He's got a lot of pressure back at home. He's legitimately torn. It's a heck of an opportunity at 19 years old to represent his country with guys he knows."

But at this point the club just wants to see what happens and keep its options open with Profar. I get the sense that unless there's an injury or some obvious job that requires Profar start more games than it seems possible at this point that he'd end up starting the season at Triple-A Round Rock. I see no problem with that. If he tears up Triple-A, he'll force the Rangers to do something in the big leagues (and put pressure on guys like Mitch Moreland to succeed). If not, he can learn more in the minors and come up when he's ready. But at least he'd be playing every day and getting consistent at-bats.