They're the top offseason questions asked via Twitter, email or on ESPN's Texas Rangers blog: When do you trade Jurickson Profar? Do you trade him at all? If you traded him during this offseason, who would you want to get back?
Honestly, I don't think the answers have changed much from last year. There may be chatter that Profar's value has gone down a bit because of his numbers in 2013. But I'm not buying it. The scouts I've talked to don't seem to believe his value has been hugely altered, and they point to the role he had as a utility guy who didn't really have a regular position.
They still see a high ceiling with the bat and a player who has solid staying power at the big league level at shortstop or second base. But he's young and still needs some time, preferably at one position on a consistent basis. The Rangers feel that way, too.
"We feel as strongly now as we did a year ago," general manager Jon Daniels said. "The multifaceted role was challenging for him and had an impact on how he can prepare and ultimately somewhat on his production. I feel as we did about him 12 months ago and I sense the industry does, too."
But the reality is the Rangers have three middle infielders and two infield spots. They have a few more highly regarded prospects a few years behind them, too, in Roughned Odor and Luis Sardinas. The other reality: You may hear plenty about Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus and their potential trade markets. But what GM doesn't want a young shortstop under club control for a while at an expensive price? And that's Profar.
So if that's the case, do the Rangers consider parting with Profar as one way to alleviate the logjam and help the club now and in the future? For a trade piece that big, it has to be the right deal. Those who have read this blog know that I'd be willing to include Profar (and have been for a year now) in a deal for Giancarlo Stanton. But the Marlins continue to stress they aren't dealing him (at least not this offseason).
Amid all this talk about St. Louis' interest in a shortstop is this tweet from ESPN.com's Jim Bowden:
Rangers &Cardinals remain strong potential trade partners with STL wanting Profar or Andrus & TX wanting Miller and/or Taveras and/or Adams
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) November 11, 2013
Bowden has talked before about how a Profar-for-Taveras trade would work for both teams. And perhaps with an outfield need now, the Rangers might at least discuss it. But there's a bigger fish in the pond that the Rangers would have to chase, at least in my mind, if available: David Price.
I know, I know. You're thinking the Rangers have other holes -- like a power bat and outfield -- that need filling now. That's true. But close your eyes and picture this rotation for just a second: Price, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez. Yes, the Rangers' offense didn't do its job during the 2013 season. Still, pitching wins championships. And that rotation could be the best in the American League, when healthy.
You can't get Price without Profar, it seems. He has to front the package. And it will likely take another young pitcher or two and/or a power hitter at the lower levels to get this done. And there's a caveat: The Rangers would have to make the deal contingent on coming to an agreement with Price on a long-term deal (maybe they get 48 hours to do so or the deal is off). If the Rangers could get that extension, they'd have their rotation locked up for years to come with Alexi Ogando waiting in the wings if an injury pops up.
Profar has a bright future. I remain convinced of that in spite of how things went in 2013. You don't trade him unless it's a special deal. Price is that special deal.
When would you trade Profar and for whom?