Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo & The Rangers Possible Missteps
The Texas Rangers offense ranks twelfth in team OPS and home runs, eighteenth in on-base percentage and seventh in runs scored. Their pitching staff ranks 22nd in team ERA and they have allowed the seventh most runs in baseball. Their bullpen ranks 29th in ERA with a 5.08, better than only the Cincinnati Reds. Rougned Odor (17) and Ian Desmond (16) lead the team in home runs with OPS' of .777 and .876 respectively. Those are the numbers, that is where this team sits at the beginning of the second half of the 2016 season and the issues they have and needs they need to fill.
This is a team with a lot of competent major league players that lacks impact performance on offense and a pitching staff that needs help. If reports are correct Joey Gallo is available in trade and every team with a viable trade piece wants Jurickson Profar, who the Rangers are reportedly shifting to the outfield.
Gallo has hit 45 home runs between Double-A and the major leagues in his last 187 games. In 2015, he had a minor league OPS of .862 and an on-base percentage of .342 and yet the Texas Rangers can't find a reason to promote him and they seem amenable to moving on from him in spite of Mitch Moreland, Nomar Mazara and Prince Fielders offensive struggles. Nomar Mazara was a great story in April and May, but he batted .262 with two home runs in June and .222 with zero home runs in July while Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland hit two. Is this a team who's roster can afford to move on from Joey Gallo and shift Profar from the infield, where his bat profiles as above average, to the outfield where his slugging profiles as below average in left field and whose defense doesn't project to be above average in centerfield or right field?
Any player should be available for the right price and that doesn't change regardless of how many home runs you hit, but the grumblings make it sound like the Rangers don't believe in their highly touted slugger. He is an imperfect player if you want to look at it that way or you could say he is a special one, if you prefer to look at it in another. During Spring training the Rangers floated the belief that Gallo's athleticism expanded his value because his defense could allow them to play him at as many as three positions (outfield, third base and first base). The strikeouts are always going to be there, but in todays game when Kris Bryant is the front runner for the National League MVP it seems shortsighted to be significantly concerned by Gallo's swing and miss issues. Shopping him rather than playing "hard to get" is not the kind of rumors that would make me feel good if I was a Rangers fan. Then, you compact that error with the idea of diminishing Jurickson Profar's trade value and contributions by shifting him to the outfield rather than seriously considering the swath of offers that reports suggest have been coming in for the talented young player.
The Rangers chances for a World Series title are going to be determined by how they manage their minor league assets at this trade deadline. Gallo is a "sell low" player while Jurickson Profar is a "sell high" opportunity and yet it appears that the Rangers are approaching it the exact opposite. The Red Sox swooped in and stole Drew Pomeranz and Brad Ziegler and the Marlins swiped Fernando Rodney from the trade market. As the deadline looms near the prices are going to rise and the Rangers window of opportunity is going to dwindle. To handle Gallo and Profar as they currently are is a recipe for failure because it reduces their value in every sense. This Rangers team has a chance to win a title. They acted boldly when they added Cole Hamels in 2015, but they are acting tentatively and incongruous to maximizing value with Profar and Gallo and it could cost them a ring. Profar is immensely valuable as a young, up and coming middle infielder, but he is not an impact, Mookie Bettsesque outfielder in waiting while Gallo's on-base percentage, OPS and monstrous home run potential is desperately needed in this Rangers lineup.
If reports are correct it sounds like the Rangers are headed down the wrong path and we can see the trainwreck well ahead of the impact. It reminds me of the Red Sox signing of Pablo Sandoval when everyone knew the Red Sox were going to sign him, that it was going to be an enormous contract with way too many years and while many of the media were touting it as a good signing, anyone who knew anything knew that it was a gigantic mistake waiting to happen. The Rangers need to look at where they are headed and stop the train before its too late. We can address why they shouldn't extend Beltre in another post, but for today, sell Profar, promote Gallo and prevent a lost opportunity at a World Series ring.
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