Examining The Texas Rangers' Infield Dilemma

ARLINGTON TX - OCTOBER 22: (L-R) Elvis Andrus #1 and Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers run off the infield towards the dugout at the end of an inning against the New York Yankees in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22 2010 in Arlington Texas. The Rangers won 6-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Elvis Andrus; Ian Kinsler

We recently looked at who might be the long-term fit at shortstop for the Texas Rangers, but let's dig a little bit deeper.

Depending on who you ask, Jurickson Profar might be the best prospect in baseball. Evaluators rave about the Curacao native. He's 19 years old and he can play shortstop. There's some power and he's a very advanced hitter. Most teams would move things around to get him to the majors as soon as they felt he was ready, but the Rangers have a rare dilemma. In his MLB debut today, Profar homered in his first plate appearance.

Elvis Andrus might be the best shortstop in the major leagues. Entering Sunday's action, Andrus is batting .298/.363/.388 and leads all shortstop in fWAR. He plays outstanding defense and he's an above average runner. Just 24 years old, Andrus may not have completely tapped into his potential yet. The Venezuelan is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.

At second base, the Rangers have Ian Kinsler. In his age-30 season this year, Kinsler has taken a step back from 2011, which might have been the best season of his career. He's locked up through at least 2017, and the team has an option for the 2018 season.

With Profar debuting this afternoon, this seems like the perfect time to examine what the Rangers might do about their odd problem.

One solution could be to shift Kinsler to the outfield. Texas has Josh Hamilton patrolling center right now, but he will be eligible for free agency this offseason. If the Rangers decide they aren't willing to meet Hamilton's contract demands (a real possibility, given his injury history and excellent 2012 campaign), the club could let him walk and use Kinsler in centerfield. Kinsler has never played the position as a pro, but his athleticism suggests that he might be able to handle such a move.

The Rangers could try a variety of things in the outfield. Kinsler could move to a corner and the club could use Craig Gentry in center, or Profar could take a stab at the position and allow Kinsler to stay at second.

It's difficult to imagine a team trading a proven shortstop of Andrus' caliber, but it is a possibility that could solve the infield dilemma and allow Texas to address other needs, namely starting pitching. The Rangers could demand a frontline starter for Andrus, and could sweeten a potential deal with one of their many top prospects. Profar could also be dangled in the trade market as the centerpiece in a deal.

There are many options on the table. Jon Daniels and company have plenty of decisions to make going forward. What do you think they should do?

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