The San Francisco Giants have plenty of holes to fill before the 2020 season begins, and there are a handful of non-tender candidates who could meet their needs.
In the days to come, we’ll be taking a look at a handful of non-tender candidates who could be a fit for the San Francisco Giants if they do in fact hit the open market.
First up, we need to identify the team’s areas of need this offseason.
In a perfect world, the front office would add the following to the roster before Opening Day arrives:
- Multiple starting pitchers
- Multiple relief pitchers
- Corner outfielder
- Middle infield depth
- Backup catcher
The Oakland Athletics have several non-tender candidates on the roster that could fill those areas of need, and we’ll start by focusing on a familiar name for those who closely follow top prospect lists.
Non-Tender Candidate: IF Jurickson Profar
Need He Fills: Middle infield depth
Jurickson Profar was acquired by the Oakland Athletics prior to the 2018 season, but he struggled to make a meaningful impact as he posted a .711 OPS across 518 plate appearances. With a projected arbitration salary of $5.8 million in 2020, the Athletics may decide that he is too costly and non-tender him, thereby making him a free agent.
Despite being just 26 years old, Profar has been on the national radar for years since he was ranked as the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball prior to the 2013 season, according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com.
If you gather three people in a room and ask them what they want for dinner, you will likely hear three different answers. The consensus is hard to establish. That was not the case when three different prospect publications rated Profar as the league’s top overall prospect.
As a result, there was a lot of hype when the switch-hitter made his debut for the Texas Rangers as a 19-year-old in 2012. To date, Profar has never lived up to the expectations that generally surround a top prospect. It happens sometimes (See: Matt Moore).
Profar played in parts of five seasons with the Rangers before he was traded to a division rival during the 2018 offseason. During that time, he produced a .240/.321/.387 line for an 87 OPS+ across 1,312 plate appearances. The prospect shine wore off on Profar long ago, but he should not be written off as a potential contributor.
With a career .234 batting average, Profar has never hit for a high average, but that comes with a 9.1 percent walk rate against a 16.7 percent walk rate. Those are solid peripheral numbers, especially considering that the Giants will no doubt be looking to improve on the .302 on-base percentage they recorded as a team in 2019.
In addition to that, Profar also hits with modest power. The versatile infielder has reached the 20-homer threshold in consecutive seasons. Only Evan Longoria, Kevin Pillar, and Mike Yastrzemski eclipsed the 20 home run plateau for the Giants in 2019, so there is clearly room for improvement.
Speaking of improvements, the Giants recorded a meager .692 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2019. Profar, a switch-hitter, posted a stout .835 OPS against southpaws last season.
The video below is one example of how Profar could help the Giants against left-handed pitchers:
Profar is not known for his glovework, but he is capable of moving around the field. He has spent most of his time at second base, but he’s also seen action at first base, shortstop, third base and in left field.
This is the type of versatility San Francisco Giants team president Farhan Zaidi covets when evaluating additions. Despite the below-average track record with the glove, Profar would give the future Giants manager flexibility with his ability to move all around the diamond.
He may never reach the hype that surrounds a consensus top prospect, but he would be a nice addition as the Giants look to improve upon their 77-win season in 2019.
First, the Athletics have a decision to make, and cost will be the biggest factor in whether to tender him a contract. The A’s likely would want to bring back Profar in 2020, but they may feel that they can get comparable or better value for less than the $5.8 million salary he is projected to earn.
The San Francisco Giants current infield contingent of Brandon Crawford, Donovan Solano, and Mauricio Dubon offers more questions than answers, so adding Profar would give them a player with a modest track record and potential upside without much risk.