The point of every major league farm system is to better the big league team. Sometimes prospects turn into homegrown stars, sometimes they are traded for a franchise-altering frontline pitcher, or a cleanup hitter. And sometimes, they get injured and miss a shitload of time.
Right now Jurickson Profar is injured. He is not finished.
I'm not going to call this an organizational failure, as Brandon does, because there are a ton of layers to this. My vantage point is so far removed that it would be foolish to even pretend like the answer to this riddle is so simple.
Last March, Profar was diagnosed with a strained teres major in his throwing shoulder. Because of the slim history of teres major injures -- Will Carroll mentioned yesterday on MLB Network that the only player, ever, with the same injury as Profar is Clayton Kershaw, who missed a month last year due to the strain -- it did not seem particularly serious, at least not in the worst case, career-threatening way. I mean, Kershaw went on to win the Cy Young Award; he seemed to recover just fine. After consulting with some of the country's best doctors last spring, the Rangers decided surgery was unnecessary to fix something so unserious.
Obviously, as we know now, Profar had a couple setbacks during the 2014 season and missed its entirety.
In December, Jurickson rejected surgery, ultimately deciding to play it out and see what happens. And, well, now we all see what happened.
Unfortunately, unless, as Jeff Wilson notes, "only [Jurickson's] labrum is fixed, he could play in 2015," then the reality is he will have missed two years of playing time, and he'll be eligible for Super Two status next winter, meaning the Rangers will pay him arbitration figures for 341 career plate appearances.
There has been much criticism, a lot of unfair criticism, actually, that the Texas Rangers somehow willfully did this to themselves. That they should have sat Jurickson down last spring, before the severity of the injury really manifested itself, and forced him to get surgery right then and there.
In retrospect, would that have changed anything? Probably. Maybe Profar only misses 2014 and is ready to go right now. But is it fair to say the Rangers and all its doctors -- as well as other doctors they consulted -- made a grave mistake by not acting sooner? I don't believe it is. There is too much grey area to consider. It would be different if this was a torn ACL or a blown out elbow; those injuries are cut and dry. Jurickson Profar's is so rare, and there's so little evidence suggesting the ramifications of surgery vs. rehab, that I don't think there was any right answer at that time.
Lastly, I do think the human element needs to be taken into account. Let's realize, for a second, that the Rangers signed Profar out of Curaçao when he was 16. They've probably scouted him since he was 13 or 14 years old. They have a relationship with this kid who is now a man. If ever there was an injury he incurred where they believed his career was in jeopardy, they would clearly advise him to take a certain route. He is too important to the organization to be treated otherwise. In December, they gave him the power to either opt for surgery or try to play it out, and he lost his gamble. Either way he would have missed 2015.
I think we can all agree that this is devastating news, for Jurickson and the Rangers and all of us, so I'm just going to leave it at that before playing the revisionist card. There is simply not enough information on teres major injuries to blame Texas last March, or Profar himself in December, with how this terrible outcome came about.