It has been made known to the public that the Texas Rangers are willing to include their middle infielders in trades discussions this off-season. The three big names that will be tossed around are second-baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus, and utility player Jurickson Profar. As a group the three of them had 386 hits, 23 home runs, 165 RBI’s, and 35 errors in the field this last season. The question is, “Can Texas afford to lose any one of them?”
Out of the three players Ian Kinsler is whom most people would rank highest. However, I’ve never really been a huge Kinsler fan. He has played in three All-Star Games and is definitely looked up to and respected on this Rangers squad, but for me he just isn’t a very special player. In the 2013 season he hit just .277 at the plate and only had 72 RBI’s. If the Rangers are thinking about making Ian Kinsler a franchise player and building their team around him, they might want to reconsider. While I would not be in any hurry to throw decent talent out the door, if an intriguing offer is presented I wouldn’t have reservations about parting ways with Kinsler.
Elvis Andrus, on the other hand, is a player whom I don’t think the Rangers should let get away. It is hard to find shortstops that can play the field and still hold their own in the batter’s box. The Rangers have a guy that hit for a .271 average with 67 RBI’s last year; that is a lot better than what most MLB teams can say. Andrus was 4th in the league among shortstops in hits last year and 5th in RBI’s. He also was 5th overall and 2nd among shortstops in stolen bases. The ability to steal over 40 bases a year is a very particular skill which only 8 people in the MLB had last year, and Andrus is one of them. Unless the Rangers are looking at a deal where they would end up receiving an All-Star in exchange for Elvis I would plan on keeping him right where he is.
Lastly, 21 year-old Jurickson Profar has also had his name put out as a potential trade candidate this off-season. Profar, who played in just 85 games in 2013, had a few jaw-dropping moments but overall experienced difficulty settling into a role in the Rangers’ lineup. On September 26th Profar lead off the bottom of the 9th inning with a towering homer to beat the Los Angeles Angels for the 4th consecutive game on a walk-off home run. However, Jurickson Profar did not meet the expectations he had set for him at the beginning of the season. He bounced around the field a lot playing 2nd, 3rd, SS, Outfield, and DH. Should the Rangers have any reservations about including him in trade conversations? No way. Profar might just be the perfect guy to throw in at the end of a deal to persuade the other team to part with one of their better players. What Texas really needs going into the next season is hitting and Profar doesn’t even make the starting 9.
The Texas Rangers’ middle infield had good flow last year and finished 12th in the league in double plays turned. The Andrus-Kinsler connection is a good one and, at this time, there isn’t any pressing need to break that up. However, if an opportunity arises where another team becomes willing to trade one of their better hitters for Ian Kinsler, I would support the decision to trade him and maybe even throw Jurickson Profar in there to get some real talent.