Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Rangers utility infielder options
By Jason A. Churchill
As MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan wrote Tuesday evening, the Texas Rangers are in the market for a utility infielder. It's a role the club could consider for prospect Jurickson Profar, but they may prefer to use Profar everyday, even in the minors to start the season, suggesting a veteran acquisition is also possible.
ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett wrote Tuesday that GM Jon Daniels will not keep Profar in the majors if it means he's sitting the bench a lot, and the 20-year-old has no experience outside of shortstop. It's a reasonable stretch to play him some at second base, of course, but beyond that might be asking too much of a player with such upside manning a premium defensive position considering the ramifications of robbing him of development time at shortstop.
The free agent market for such a veteran option is nearly non-existent, but the club has expressed interest in Ryan Theriot, a versatile infielder also being linked to the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians.
Jason Bartlett, who was released last August by the San Diego Padres, could be an option but it's not clear whether his knee is healthy and ready to go. His name has not come up in reports this offseason. Freddy Sanchez's agent Paul Cobbe told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick earlier this offseason that his client is healthy after missing all of 2012. He's experienced at second base and third base, but isn't likely a fit at shortstop, a position utility infielders generally must have on their resume.
Sullivan adds that among the top in-house options is Leury Garcia, a switch-hitter with good speed and the ability to play both the infield and the outfield.
Richard DurrettRangers open to internal solutions
"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."