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November 08, 2012

Rangers shortstops Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar drawing interest

The most popular call the Rangers are fielding this off-season from other teams involves the availability of shortstops Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, and one of the most popular rumors at these GM meetings is a trade of one of them for Arizona right fielder Justin Upton.

The Rangers, though, don't seem terribly inclined to move either player. The Rangers' stance in the past has been that no one is untouchable, but it would seem that a team interested in Andrus or Profar would have to overwhelm the Rangers for them to pull the trigger on a deal.

The question now is if an Upton trade would knock the Rangers' socks off.

"People see the depth in our infield, specifically at shortstop and the challenge of filling that position in the industry," general manager Jon Daniels said. "That's probably the most popular call we get, but it would have to be a pretty unique thing for us to think about."

The Diamondbacks also need a third baseman, and Mike Olt could also be enticing. Olt and Profar are teammates in the Dominican winter league for Licey, which also has Rangers outfield prospects Leonys Martin and Engel Beltre on the roster. Profar did not play Thursday, the first day he was available, and will likely split his games at shortstop and second base with Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon.

Andrus will be entering his fourth year and has two years and $11.275 million remaining on a very team-friendly contract before hitting free agency. His agent is Scott Boras, whose clients almost always go to free agency. Jered Weaver bucked the trend in 2011 when he signed an extension with the Angels.

The Rangers, though, expect to contend in 2013 and believe they need Andrus to reach their goals. They also want to fit Profar in, but as of now he doesn't have a spot. The Rangers have not yet discussed with Ian Kinsler a position switch to left field, a move that would allow Profar to take over at second base.

-- Jeff Wilson






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