Editor's note: This is the sixth in a 10-part series that will focus on questions the Texas Rangers must answer this offseason. These questions are in no particular order.
Today's question: How do the Rangers make Jurickson Profar an everyday player?
The 2013 Texas Rangers couldn't really find a suitable spot for highly-touted prospect Jurickson Profar. He was all over the place as a utility-type guy and even ended up as the DH at times, a spot that clearly doesn't play to his skill set. Some will make the argument that Profar's value diminished after he hit .234 in 85 games for the Rangers last season. He had six homers and 26 RBIs with 63 strikeouts and 26 walks. His OPS was .644. No, it wasn't a "wow" year.
But scouts understand Profar moved around a lot. He was getting used to major-league pitching and he still has terrific infield defensive skills. None of the scouts I talked to seemed to think Profar's value was hurt by his season at all. He has a high ceiling.
If the Rangers are to get the most out of Profar, however, they need him to play more. They need him to find a position, work hard at it and stay there. With Ian Kinsler at second base and Elvis Andrus at shortstop, there wasn't that possibility this season (he filled in when needed).
"In an ideal situation, he would not be (in the utility role) next year, even though he would be able to handle it better next year," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said shortly after the season ended. "In a perfect world, he won't be. A lot of that's going to depend on what we do with the club this winter and we're a long way from being able to answer that."
It seems doubtful the Rangers would decide to let Profar go back to the minors and develop more. I'm not sure that would do him a ton of good, honestly, either. What he does need is a steady spot that's predictable. So where could that be? A few options:
* He could play second base and Kinsler could move to first base. If you'll remember, the club broached the topic with Kinsler last offseason and at first, he said he would consider moving. But after considering it further, Kinsler decided he'd rather stay at second base and the club agreed. But this is a new year and a new opportunity. Kinsler is athletic enough to handle the spot, but it would also mean figuring out what to do with Mitch Moreland.
* Kinsler could move to the outfield, allowing Profar to play second. Left field was an issue for the Rangers in 2013 as David Murphy struggled. The best outfield alignment happened late in the season with Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin both in the OF. Traditionally, corner outfield spots (like first base) are supposed to be power positions. That's not necessarily Kinsler's game. But I'm not sure that actually matters. It would be interesting to see if he could handle it. If he could, the club could also keep Moreland at first.
* Trade Profar. He still has value and could front a package to bring back a top hitter or pitcher.
* Trade Andrus. I can't see this one happening after Andrus got a new contract and has become one of the club's leaders. But there's no reason to close any doors. You never know what Andrus could attract in terms of offers, so you have to listen.
* Trade Kinsler. Again, not sure this makes sense. I think all three players can be on the same team and help this club. It's up to the Rangers to get creative.
What would you do with Profar?