Can the 2023 World Baseball Classic Land Jurickson Profar a Spot on a MLB Team?

Thanks to its contingent of MLB stars, Team Netherlands is off to a scorching start in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. One key piece for the Dutch roster is outfielder Jurickson Profar, who still remains a free agent after a relatively strong 2022 year with the Padres. So far, he’s doing a solid job of landing himself a new contract after the tournament.

Related: What to Make of Matt Harvey’s Start for Team Italy Against Cuba

A Look at Profar

We had a good feeling about the Netherlands — and Italy, but we’re not going to brag just yet — and its chances in Pool A of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. The Dutch are now 2-0 in pool play, after Team Netherlands defeated Panama by a score of 3-1 early Wednesday morning on the east coast.

Star infielder Xander Bogaerts put the Dutch ahead in the third inning after a solo shot that came off of Angels pitcher Jaime Barria, and former Padres outfielder Jurickson Profar added one of his own in the fifth. Off Nationals prospect Alberto Guerrero, Profar blasted a high changeup into the right field seats. The 30-year-old went 2-3 in the victory against Panama, which raised his batting average to .286.

Last season with the Padres, Profar hit .243/.331/.391 with 15 home runs, 53 extra base hits, and 58 RBIs. The Curacao native added an additional home run and five RBIs in the Padres’ playoff run last October.

What it Means

Unless teams are unwilling to bite on Profar due to contract demands, it’s difficult to see the switch-hitter remain a free agent come Opening Day. Profar makes consistent contact, owns good discipline and draws walks, and possesses good pop. Profar hit 15 home runs last year, and did put up back-to-back 20 home run campaigns in 2018 & 2019.

While there are some competitive teams like the Yankees or Braves that could make good use of a bat like Profar, money and roster spots are tight — particularly for team that don’t want to accrue any or additional luxury tax penalties. Padres fans may also be of hope that the San Diego brass can bring him back, but that doesn’t seem all too likely. With Juan Soto set to be left field alongside CF Trent Grisham and probable RF Fernando Tatis Jr., Profar doesn’t appear to be a real fit for San Diego.

It wouldn’t be a shock if the 30-year-old latched on to a rebuilding team like the Tigers or Nationals after the World Baseball Classic. Obviously, this is just speculation, but that scenario would give Profar regular playing time before a potential move in the summer to a contender.

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