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Padres get infielder Profar from A's, deal Allen

@AJCassavell
December 3, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- After dealing Luis Urías to Milwaukee in a trade last week, the Padres found themselves in need of help at second base. It didn't take very long for general manager A.J. Preller to find it. The Padres and A’s finalized a trade on Monday afternoon, with second

SAN DIEGO -- After dealing Luis Urías to Milwaukee in a trade last week, the Padres found themselves in need of help at second base. It didn't take very long for general manager A.J. Preller to find it.

The Padres and A’s finalized a trade on Monday afternoon, with second baseman Jurickson Profar heading to San Diego in exchange for catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named or cash considerations.

Among the Padres' in-house options, Profar is now the clear favorite to start at second base, but team sources indicated that Preller would continue to search for more help at the keystone. Greg Garcia, Ian Kinsler and Ty France are roster options, though none are expected to seize an everyday job.

The switch-hitting Profar batted .218/.301/.410 with 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in 139 games for the A's this year, his first in Oakland after the Rangers traded him to the A's last December. Profar struggled during the first half, but he posted an .821 OPS during the second half.

“He's a switch-hit bat, can play different positions on the field,” Preller said. “He's a guy that gives you a quality at-bat in terms of strike-zone awareness with some damage. For all those reasons, he was an attractive piece.”

Profar is slated to become a free agent after the 2020 season and was a a non-tender candidate for Oakland, which almost certainly prompted Monday’s trade. Ahead of Monday’s non-tender deadline, the Padres and Profar came to an agreement on a $5.7 million salary in 2020, sources said.

A former top prospect, Profar's best season came with Texas in 2018, when he hit .254/.335/.458 with 20 homers and 77 RBIs in 146 games. He has long been viewed as a favorite of Preller, who was the Rangers' international scouting director in 2009 when Profar signed with Texas.

Now, Preller and Profar are reunited in San Diego. New Padres manager Jayce Tingler also served on the Rangers' staff for the final few seasons of Profar's tenure in Texas.

With only one season remaining before free agency, it’s possible Profar serves as a stopgap in San Diego. In CJ Abrams and Xavier Edwards, the Padres have two highly touted middle-infield prospects, both ranked among MLB Pipeline’s Top 100. Neither is expected to arrive in the next two seasons, but Owen Miller, the team’s No. 10 prospect, could begin making an impact in 2020.

Then again, it sounds as though the Padres will remain active in their efforts to land another second baseman this winter. If they do, the team still views Profar as a very useful roster piece. In the past two seasons, Profar has spent time at all four infield spots and in left field -- not to mention the value he brings as a switch-hitter.

“He'll get that opportunity [to play second],” Preller said. “But the nice part with Jurickson is he can play multiple spots on the field. He can go out and play some outfield, he's played the left side of the infield, obviously second base and first base.

“For us, it's still a fluid situation with our roster. It's still early in the offseason. We'll continue seeing where things go. But with him as somebody who could get opportunity at second base, we felt like that was a good match.”

As for Allen, the Padres believed enough in their organizational catching depth to let him go. His bat offers plenty of upside -- despite the fact that he posted just a .559 OPS in 34 games during his 2019 big league debut season. But his defense remains a serious question mark. San Diego went 1-13 in games Allen started behind the plate last season.

With catchers Francisco Mejía and Austin Hedges already on board, Allen was a price the Padres were willing to pay to upgrade second base -- a position of need. As things stand, San Diego will enter the 2020 season feeling confident with an infield comprising Manny Machado at third, Fernando Tatis Jr. at short, Profar at second and Eric Hosmer at first.

Decision day

• The Padres did not tender a contract to right-hander Miguel Diaz or right-hander Pedro Avila, making both free agents. Avila is recovering from Tommy John surgery and was designated for assignment last week. Diaz, meanwhile, spent only five games in the big leagues in 2019, allowing five runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Neither move was a surprise, but the Padres remain hopeful they’ll be able to keep Diaz and Avila in the organization. Both will likely be offered Minor League deals in the coming days, sources said.

• Profar was one of 10 arbitration-eligible Padres ahead of Monday’s deadline. He and fellow infielder Greg Garcia agreed to terms on their 2020 salaries on Monday.

The eight remaining arbitration-eligible players were all tendered contracts -- catcher Austin Hedges, outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, starting pitchers Zach Davies and Dinelson Lamet and relievers Luis Perdomo, Kirby Yates and Matt Strahm.

In those eight cases, the two sides will spend the coming weeks negotiating. If a deal isn't struck by Jan. 10, both sides will submit a proposed salary for the 2020 season. Then they'd have a few weeks to settle before a scheduled arbitration hearing.

If the process reaches a hearing, an independent arbiter would decide between the two sides’ proposals. The Padres haven't had an arbitration case reach a hearing during Preller's tenure.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.