ANAHEIM -- Rangers utility infielder Jurickson Profar made the most of his first start since the All-Star break. Starting at shortstop in Monday's 9-5 loss to the Angels, Profar had a walk to begin a three-run first inning and had a couple of excellent defensive plays.
Expect the Rangers' phones to continue to ring heavily from other teams checking in on Profar's availability. Major League sources said the club is getting a "ton of calls" on Profar, with the Rays high among the callers.
He may be the Rangers' best trade chip now that he is over two years of shoulder problems and flashing the talent that once made him the top Minor League prospect. Despite going 0-for-3, he is still hitting .318 on the season.
The Rays have three starting pitchers of interest to the Rangers in Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly. The question is if the Rangers would be willing to settle for a mid-rotation starter for Profar.
All things considered, the Rangers would like to keep Profar. His versatility is an asset even though the Rangers haven't fully exploited it yet. He could also end up as the starting shortstop next season with Elvis Andrus sliding into the utility role.
But right now clubs see he is getting limited playing time even though he can play all four infield positions. If they do trade him, the Rangers would prefer to get a young starting pitcher with as much upside potential as Profar and under their control for the next few years.
Odorizzi is 26 and can't be a free agent until after the 2019 season. He is 4-5 with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 20 starts. His career record is 24-29 with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 85 starts and three relief appearances.
Moore was once as big of a prospect as Profar and fulfilled those expectations by winning 17 games for the Rays in 2013. But he missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and is 8-13 with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 33 starts since then.
Smyly was once a highly-regarded prospect as the Rays acquired him in a July 31, 2014, three-way deal with the Tigers and Mariners that involved David Price. The Rays saw Smyly as taking Price's spot in the rotation but he had shoulder problems last season and is 2-10 with a 5.47 ERA this season.
The Rangers, if Profar is going to be traded, are probably looking for something beyond what the Rays have to offer unless their scouts and metrics analysts see something beyond the basic statistics.
The other option would be to trade Profar for catching help, either All-Star Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers or a young catcher again with similar upside.
So far Profar has been willing to do what the Rangers ask of him. He also made it clear that is only short-term satisfaction. In the long run, he wants to be an everyday shortstop in the Major Leagues.
If the right opportunity arises, the Rangers might get him that chance in the next two weeks.