SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The deal announced Sunday morning with Jurickson Profar, who hit the switch, addressed key needs the Rockies had been hoping to fill throughout the offseason.
According to a source, the 30-year-old is set to join Colorado on a one-year, $7.75 million deal with an additional $1 million possible if he reaches 400 board appearances. He profiles himself as the starting left fielder and first hitter for the team.
The club have not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical review.
If all goes according to plan, Profar will be at camp later this week and will have about a week to prepare for the season opener on March 28 at Petco Park in San Diego – the place he calls home. in 2021 and 22 before opting out of the final year of his three-year, $21 million contract with the Padres.
At the World Baseball Classic, Profar hit .231 (4 for 13) with one home run, three strikeouts and three walks for the Netherlands, a team led by Rockies batting coach Hensley Mills.
As a starting left fielder for San Diego in 2022, Profar recorded career highs in games played (152), plate appearances (658) and bWAR (3.1) while slashing .243 / .331 / .391 with 15 homers, 36 doubles, 58 RBIs and 73 walks.
The signing is the last piece needed in the Rockies’ plan to move Kris Bryant from left field to right field, with Yonathan Daza set to play center.
Bryant was limited to 42 games last year – the first of a seven-year, $182 million contract – due to back and right foot injuries. Joining the Rockies, Bryant found the deep left-center gap to be “a graveyard.” The right has a tricky scoreboard out of town and involves more throws but has less ground to cover than the left. Designated hitter Charlie Blackmon, who is expected to return soon from back pain and be ready for the start of the regular season, can play the field when Bryant has the day off.
Profar also improves club depth. Before the start of spring training, Randal Grichuk underwent bilateral sports hernia surgery which will delay the start of his season. Throughout camp, unregistered service man Harold Castro emerged as the best option on the left. Now Castro can be used as the left-handed multi-position bat he has been in his five seasons with the Tigers.
Since the start of camp, the Rockies have added three veterans in hopes of a surprise campaign in West NL. after last year’s 68-94 finish. They added left-handed reliever Brad Hand to a bullpen already bolstered by offseason pickups Brent Suter and Pierce Johnson. Two weeks ago, the Rockies signed cornerback infielder Mike Moustakas to a Minor League contract, who entered Sunday 9-for-18 with one home run, three doubles and eight RBIs and is on track. to be part of the opening day roster.
Profar has come a long way since multiple outlets listed him as the No. 1 overall prospect in 2013 while he was with Rangers. Although he made his MLB debut as a 19-year-old in 2012, it would be another six years before he became a fixture in the Texas roster.
Profar was due to take over as Rangers’ starting second baseman when the club traded Ian Kinsler before 2014, but he suffered a right shoulder injury in spring training and has missed the entire season. Surgery on the same shoulder the following February also cost Profar the whole of 2015.
After playing just 112 games in 2016-17, Profar enjoyed something of a breakout in 2018, serving as a utility and hitting .254 infielder with 20 home runs, 10 interceptions and a .793 OPS in 594 plate appearances for the Rangers. However, Texas sent him to the A’s in December in a three-team, seven-man trade that also involved the Rays.
He spent one season with Oakland before being traded to the Padres in December 2019, and returned to San Diego on a three-year contract after becoming a free agent the following offseason.
Profar is a career .238 hitter with 78 home runs, 313 RBIs and a .708 OPS in 836 games at the big league level.