Athletics

/ by Ben Ross
Presented By A'sPlayoffs2019
Athletics

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jurickson Profar, 2B

Contract: Final year of arbitration (earned $3.6 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

After a slow start to the season, Profar put together a solid second half at the plate. The 26-year-old posted an .821 OPS and belted 10 home runs after the All-Star break, and finished the season with a .218/.301/.410 slash line, with 20 homers and 67 RBi in 139 games.

Profar's defense also improved in the second half of the season. After committing 10 errors in the A's first 73 games, he cut that number to three in the final 89 contests.

As a switch-hitter, Profar provides some versatility in the lineup. He also does that in the field, as he can play any infield position, as well as left field. And at 26 years old, he still should just be coming into his prime.

Reasons to let him go

Despite his respectable power numbers, Profar was highly inconsistent throughout the year, both at the plate and in the field. His performance twice dipped to the point where manager Bob Melvin replaced him as the starting second baseman. Profar also was a defensive liability, developing a case of the yips on his throws from second base.

The A's have a couple of quality second baseman prospects in Sheldon Neuse and Jorge Mateo. Neuse, 24, slashed .317/.389/.550 in Triple-A Las Vegas this year, with 27 home runs and 102 RBI in 126 games. Mateo, 24, hit .289/.330/.504 with 19 homers, 29 doubles and 14 triples in 119 Triple-A games.

 

Of course, Chad Pinder also can play second base, which he did in 21 games this year. With all of those second base options, Profar could be expendable.

Final verdict

This is a tough call, but the A's probably would be best off trying to trade Profar during the offseason. If they can't find a trade partner, then a non-tender is a real possibility.

With Mateo and Neuse both MLB-ready, not to mention former top prospect Franklin Barreto still in the mix, it doesn't make sense to give Profar a raise next season when he might not even earn the starting second baseman job. Profar's defense is a serious concern, and while he has hit for decent power, he is just a career .234 hitter in six major league seasons.

[RELATED: Stay or go candidate: Yusmeiro Petit]

The A's could use the money they save on Profar in other areas, such as bullpen help or starting pitching depth. Both of those options make more sense than bringing Profar back in 2020.