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9 players who could use change of scenery

January 24, 2017

Sooner or later, somebody is going to have to give Jurickson Profar a shot as a middle infielder, aren't they?Maybe it will still be the Rangers, but it's hard to see how that's going to happen without an injury to Elvis Andrus or Rougned Odor.The Rangers signed Profar out of

Sooner or later, somebody is going to have to give Jurickson Profar a shot as a middle infielder, aren't they?
Maybe it will still be the Rangers, but it's hard to see how that's going to happen without an injury to Elvis Andrus or Rougned Odor.
The Rangers signed Profar out of Curacao in 2009. He quickly developed into one of the top prospects in baseball, earning his first promotion to the Major Leagues when he was only 19. Profar flashed speed and power to go with tremendous range in the field. But timing was never on his side.
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Profar climbed the ladder when Texas was going to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and '11, with a middle infield of Andrus and Ian Kinsler. Profar was added to the roster in the unsuccessful attempt to win a third consecutive American League pennant in '12, becoming a bench piece for Ron Washington rather than continuing to play every day at Triple-A.
Profar injured his shoulder in 2014, eventually undergoing surgery and losing almost two full seasons. Odor moved in to claim second base when Kinsler was traded to the Tigers.
So Profar, who turns 24 in February, remains a man without a position with the Rangers. He's listed on their depth chart as an option at first base, and DH remains mismatched. Profar needs a chance to play middle infield.
There was some talk that Profar had drawn interested from the Dodgers after the James Dozier talks stalled. But Andrew Friedman acquired more of a sure thing in John Forsythe, leaving Profar with Texas.
It's time that Profar gets out from under the shadows and find out if he can reclaim his promise with regular playing time at the highest level. Here's hoping there's a middle-infield chance out there for him somewhere.
Profar is not alone among potentially impactful players who could benefit from late trades before the opening of Spring Training. Among others:
Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski says the 24-year-old switch-hitter will be given a shot to win a job in Spring Training, but Swihart looks to be third in line behind Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez. Despite inconsistent playing time and an ankle injury that required surgery last August, he's hit .271 in 103 Major League games. Swihart could earn a major role with another team, but it's going to be tough for him to carve out a niche in Boston.

Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs
Who can't use a 23-year-old switch-hitter who just hit .333 with a .959 OPS in a 76-game taste at Triple-A? The dilemma for Candelario is that he plays the same position as National League MVP Award winner Kris Bryant and must somehow squeeze onto a roster alongside the very versatile Benjamin Zobrist and Javier Baez. Bryant could move to the outfield to create room at third base, but the Cubs have Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward in the corners. Candelario looks like a trade piece in July, if not before.

Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals
The pride of Slippery Rock has seem his stock slip since hitting .284 with 17 homers his rookie year. Adams is a .270 career hitter, but he hasn't hit for as much power as the club wanted him to do, which is why Matt Carpenter has become a first baseman. Adams is considered a known quantity at 28, but he could respond to a new challenge.

Hernan Perez, 3B/2B/OF, Brewers
A baseball rat who loves to play, Perez had a breakout season in 2016, but he finds himself sharing the third-base spot with Travis Shaw, acquired by the Red Sox this offseason. Perez's ability to be a defensive asset in the outfield and all over the infield, along with his baserunning skills, make him a fit on 30 rosters. His one major flaw is that he doesn't walk enough, which has limited his value.

Jimmy Nelson, SP, Brewers
A former second-round pick entering his age-28 season, Nelson isn't a lock to earn a spot in manager Craig Counsell's rotation after two disappointing seasons. Nelson's four-seam fastball averaged 95 mph last September; opposing hitters batted only .137 off his slider. He's a candidate to be moved to the bullpen, not as a demotion but with the thought that he could develop into an important setup role for a contender.

Dalton Pompey, CF, Blue Jays
Just two springs back, the Toronto-area native was one of the biggest stories for the Blue Jays. But after starting in center field on Opening Day, reality struck for Pompey, who was then only 22. He was sent to Triple-A in early May and has rarely been back on the Major League roster. Pompey is little more than a depth piece behind Kevin Pillar, but he has top-of-the-order skills, evidenced by a .367 on-base percentage in the Minors.

Wilmer Difo, 2B, Nationals
A late bloomer, Difo is headed to Triple-A in his age-25 season. But blocked by Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner, there's no rush for Difo to get to the Major League club.

Brian Goodwin, OF, Nationals
At 26, the late bloomer is coming off his best season at the plate. Goodwin hit .280 with 14 homers for Syracuse and then delivered a promising .747 OPS in 22 games for manager Dusty Baker's team. But the acquisition of Adam Eaton puts a roadblock up for Goodwin and teammate Michael Taylor, at least as a possible regular. It's too bad for Goodwin that he didn't go to the White Sox in the Eaton trade.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for