WYMAN AND BOB

Mariners Hot Stove Hype: Close look at free agents Profar, Myers

Nov 22, 2022, 12:28 AM
Mariners offseason Jurickson Profar...
Jurickson Profar rounds the bases after hitting a home in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series on Oct. 7, 2022. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob kicked off a new regular segment Monday that Mariners fans will want to catch each day: Hot Stove Hype, where a baseball insider from another big league city joins the show to talk about free agents who could be on the Mariners’ radar.

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First up, host Bob Stelton talked to Jesse Agler, the lead radio play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres, and there was a lot to cover with four bats that most recently played for the Padres now on the open market: Jurickson Profar, Wil Myers, Brandon Drury and Josh Bell.

The majority of the conversation focused on Profar and Myers, as Drury and Bell were midseason acquisitions by San Diego. We’ll detail what Agler had to say about Profar and Myers in this post, and you can hear his full thoughts on the entire quartet in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Jurickson Profar

There are a lot of boxes Profar could check off when it comes to things the Mariners seem to like. He’s a switch-hitter who can play every infield and outfield position, has the perfect approach at the plate for Seattle’s “control the zone” philosophy, and is a good athlete who was once the top prospect in the game.

While he never completely fulfilled the superstar expectations that came with him as a 19-year-old rookie with Texas in 2012, he has turned into a solid big league player. He slashed .243/.331/.391 over 152 games for a .723 OPS and 111 OPS+ as San Diego’s primary left fielder and leadoff hitter in 2022.

Agler said Profar finally found his stride during the shortened 2020 season following stints with the Rangers and Athletics.

“I think he really kind of blossomed and came into his own as a Padre,” Agler said. “… He had come off a really, really difficult 2019 with the A’s… He developed, it looked like at least from the outside, a case of the yips at second base – he couldn’t throw to first and it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what kind of happened to this guy?’ He comes to San Diego (in 2020), obviously a weird year with the starts and the stops with COVID. They weren’t sure where they were going to play him, and when that season did finally get underway… it was like everything just kind of clicked for him, and he’s been a really steady, solid contributor for the Padres the last couple of years.”

Should Profar have the Mariners’ attention, his ability to get on base would be a likely reason.

“That’s the calling card for him,” Agler said. “He’s one of those guys – he’s gonna grind out at-bats, he’s gonna take a lot of pitches, he’s gonna foul a lot off, he’s gonna get his walks. There’s not a ton of power there, but look, as a switch-hitter there’s versatility.”

There’s one other thing that could make him a fit for the Mariners, and that’s a personality that sounds like it would be right at home in Seattle’s clubhouse.

“From an off-field perspective, you’re not going to find a better guy. Always a big smile on his face, a tremendous teammate,” Agler said. “He’s multilingual having grown up in Curaçao so he’s really able, I think, to develop deep, serious, significant relationships with guys literally from all over the globe. … He’s a glue guy in the clubhouse, there’s no doubt about that.”

Based on Agler’s comments, the 29-year-old Profar comes off as a player who despite not living up to the lofty expectations of his youth has found a way to turn that into a positive.

“He’s a guy who I think really has earned whatever is going to come to him now,” Agler said. “Has he developed into that top, top prospect in all of baseball ‘superstar’ guy that maybe people on the outside thought he was gonna be? No. But is he a very impressive major leaguer? Absolutely. And he provides a lot of versatility, as well.”

Wil Myers

Similar to Profar, Myers is a former top prospect who never quite turned into a big star but has had some good years in San Diego. And he’s another player with the ability to play multiple positions.

The talent is still there with the 31-year-old Myers, but consistency – whether that has to do with injuries or production – has been tough for him to find.

“As enigmatic a case as you’re going to find,” Agler said of Myers. “We see it in all sports, right? He’s a guy, you look at him and go, ‘Man, he’s got all the talent in the world.’ It hasn’t ever clicked together for him over the course of an entire year. … I think to call him streaky is fair. Pretty high highs, pretty low lows over the course of the long season.”

In 2022, Myers slashed .261/.315/.398 for a .713 OPS and 108 OPS+, but he was limited to 77 games due to injury. And though he has twice hit 28 home runs or more in a season, he hasn’t reached the 20-homer mark since 2017.

Agler said Myers has a good perspective on his career.

“I think because of everything that he’s been through, he ‘gets it,’ quote-unquote, as much as anybody in terms of if his name is out there in trade talks, or if he doesn’t necessarily come into spring training having a defined role. He’ll stand there and answer the questions about that. Does he love it? Probably not, but he knows it’s part of the deal. … He really does have, I think, a very good understanding, a very good sort of self-awareness as to what he is, what he has been, what he may be in the future. And I would imagine if you’re a general manager having a conversation with him in free agency, you really appreciate all of that.”

The Mariners have a need for another corner outfielder, and Myers did spend most of his playing time in those spots in 2022. He also can play both corner infield positions, as well.

“Kind of like Profar, a guy that is versatile,” Agler said. “You can put him in the outfield, he plays a really good first base – although I wouldn’t call it a traditional-looking first base. He’s just sort of like a wild stallion athlete out there.”

That’s still evident even now in his 30s.

“And we do need to talk about the athleticism,” Agler continued. “He can do it all. He runs well, he hits for power when he’s right, he hits for average when he’s right. But again, he’s just never been one of those guys that over the full 162 has been able to be a consistent performer.”

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