The Oakland A’s made two significant moves on Friday, acquiring infielder Jurickson Profar in a three-team deal involving the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays and signing veteran reliever Joakim Soria to a two-year contract.
As part of the three-team deal, the A’s sent top-20 prospect Eli White to the Rangers and reliever Emilio Pagan to the Rays. The A’s also sent international bonus slot money to the Rangers and the No. 38 overall pick in next year’s draft (Competitive Balance Round A) to the Rays.
The trade means that the A’s will have a new second baseman in 2019. Profar will take over for Jed Lowrie, who is a free agent. Profar had a career-best season with the Rangers in 2018, hitting 20 home runs and posting a 793 OPS. He also stole 10 bases. Profar will be 26 next season and the A’s have him under team control for the next two seasons. In addition to second base, Profar has significant experience playing shortstop, third base and first base and some experience in the outfield.
Profar was the top prospect in baseball in 2013 but injuries derailed him in 2014 and 2015. He made his major-league debut in 2012 as a 19-year-old.
The move means that former A’s top prospect Franklin Barreto will move into a utility role. He has gained some experience playing in the outfield this winter in Venezuela. Barreto is currently hitting .356 with a 925 OPS in 44 games in the VWL.
White heads to Texas a season after he hit .306/.388/.450 for Double-A Midland. He hit nine home runs and stole 18 bases. Pagan had a 4.35 ERA in his one season with the A’s. He also spent time in Triple-A with Nashville.
Soria joins the A’s for what will be his 12th season in the major leagues. The right-hander split his 2018 season with the White Sox and the Brewers. He has a career 2.88 ERA and 220 saves. Soria will serve as a setup man for closer Blake Treinen and could get some save chances, as well.
For in-depth analysis of both transactions, please see my article at The Athletic: https://theathletic.com/728766/2018/12/21/as-banking-on-jurickson-profars-continued-emergence-joakim-sorias-consistency/
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