Jurickson Profar fits the profile of Detroit Tigers' POBO Scott Harris
The Detroit Tigers have spent $10 million in free agency so far—all on Matthew Boyd. All indications appear that they won't be adding a lot to the 2023 payroll. The fact remains that this team still has gaping holes at third base and in the outfield, and the free agent options are running low. One player that could fill either hole is Jurickson Profar.
Profar is a former top prospect for the Texas Rangers. He was the seventh-ranked prospect in all of baseball ahead of the 2012 season according to MLB Pipeline. He came up as a 19-year-old, but injuries and inconsistencies have derailed his career.
He is coming off his best offensive season, not counting the shortened 2020 season. He slashed .243/.331/.391 with a 110 wRC+ and 15 homers. He ranked near the top of the league in walk rate, strikeout rate, chase rate, and whiff rate, which something that has always been a part of his game.
He has a career walk rate close to 10% and a strikeout rate of just 16.2%. He doesn't have a lot of swing-and-miss in his apprach and he doesn't chase out of the strike zone very much. He controls the zone, which is the thing Scott Harris wants to build this offense around.
Defensively, he's never really had a home. He came up as a shortstop, but that was pretty short-lived. He's played everywhere on the diamond except catcher. If there's one thing A.J. Hinch loves, it's positional versatility, and Profar certainly provides that.
He played left field almost exclusively for the Padres last season, and the numbers say that's where he should stay. He has 10 defensive runs saved in his career in LF, which is by far the highest for any position he's played. No matter what you do, don't play him at second base.
He's never really graded out very well defensively no matter where's played. He's a bat-first type of player.
Profar seems like a good fit in Detroit. But how much would he cost? Spotrac gives him a projected AAV of about $15 million a year, which I think is a little high. I think they could get him for something like two years and $20 million ($10 million AAV). But with the way the market is right now, who knows?
If the Detroit Tigers are looking for someone who controls the strike zone offensively and has defensively versatility, there isn't a better option on the free agent market right now than Profar.