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Choosing a centerpiece for a Rangers trade: Jurickson Profar vs Joey Gallo

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Statement 1: The Rays are very interested in dealing their starting pitching.

Statement 2: The Rays are very interested in Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar.

The Rays are not giving us any hints as to whether either statement is true, and while the first most likely is, the only real chatter for any Rays rumor appears to be coming out of Rangers camp.

Since that is all we have to work with, lets take a look at the past rumors about an alleged Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers trade and see if there's any validity in the current noise.

We'll start it off with a blockbuster:

March 2012: Texas Rangers send Kyle Hudson to Tampa Bay Rays as part of a conditional deal.

May 2012:

April 2013: People start asking if Jurickson Profar would be enough to land David Price from the Rays. T.R. Sullivan from MLB.com says "If the Rangers can get either one of those two players for a package led by Profar, they will do it in the blink of an eye."

A trade does end up happening in the form of:

And the next week, the Rays get Jeff Beliveau from the Rangers.

November 2013: ESPNDallas' Richard Durrett looks at a potential Texas Ranger's deal for David Price. It again mentions Jurickson Profar.

December 2015: T.R. Sullivan is back at it again with another rumor:

July 2016: T.R. Sullivan again talking about Jurickson Profar to the Rays, but this time it might be for Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore, or Drew Smyly.

So it would appear that the Rays and Rangers have a mild working relationship, and that Tampa Bay's brass have long coveted Profar, a former top prospect in the game who has had a roller coaster ride in his late stages of development in Texas: 17 plate appearances in 2012 at age 19, a half season in 2013, and then multiple shoulder injuries. Once properly diagnosed, he eventually had labrum surgery in February 2015.

Now at age 23, he's finally back in the majors and doing enough to be an attractive trade chip once again. And what is Texas saying?

Let's talk about it anyway.

Jurickson Profar

Profar boasts versatility throughout the infield, which is pivotal to any Rays acquisition. Players like Andrew Velazquez, Willy Adames, Nick Franklin, Steve Pearce, Brad Miller, and rumored candidates like Javy Baez have all had that going for them. "Looking for the next Ben Zobrist" rumors aside, Profar has great range and even better instincts across the diamond.

In terms of his offensive potential, don't let his current league average batting line fool you. The kid has pedigree: Profar was once ranked alongside Wil Myers in terms of talent. He was the 2012 Baseball America top prospect, Baseball America wrote at the time that, "No prospect this side of Mike Trout has a better minor league résumé than Profar."

A switch hitter with top notch bat speed from both sides, he would be able to give the Rays some balance in their lineup through a high contact, high average approach. Profar hit for a .323 AVG in the first half of this season before beginning to slump after the All-Star break.

Profar has only three years of team control remaining, and remains relatively blocked up the middle by Elvis Andrus and Roughned Odor. Due to Prince Fielder's injury, he's been getting time at designated hitter to stay atop their batting order when he doesn't play the field, but he may be expendable to a Rangers side that has pressing needs in the rotation.

With Fielder sidelined, though, Texas may be more interested in dealing from their prospect depth, which points to Joey Gallo.

Joey Gallo

Jeff Passan believes the Rays and Rangers are a fit, but instead of the final realization of the Profar chase, he envisions a current top prospect heading to the Rays:

The match between the Rays and Rangers is clear. Texas wants controllable pitching. Tampa Bay needs young hitting. If the Rangers are willing to give up Joey Gallo - and sources familiar with the talks believe they are - something could come together quickly.

If anything, Gallo fits the recent Rays mold for targets with power-hitting potential seen in the off-season (Baez rumored, Dickerson acquired, Pearce signed). In a mere 295 plate appearances at Triple-A, Gallo has 18 HR's and a 141 wRC+, but he also carries also a characteristically low AVG and a 30% strikeout rate. Acquiring a hitter with that profile would exacerbate some of the Rays recent problems at the plate, and hitters of his ilk notoriously struggle to make the leap into the majors.

Still, Gallo seems ready to contribute at the major league level, and offers the Rays the same high pedigree (No. 10 overall on Baseball America, No. 8 overall on Baseball Prospectus), but with five or six years of team control (depending on Super 2 status). Slumping like Profar has in July, Gallo did show a diminished K-rate for most of the year, a promising sign when it comes to spreadsheet scouting.

Gallo is blocked from the majors in Texas, even with Fielder's injury, despite a 36 game audition last season and the aforementioned taters. The power is 80-grade, and it's a piece that's apparently easier for Texas to forego this season, but even if the Rays do acquire him, it's not clear where he plays in Tampa Bay either.

An acquisition of Gallo would be taking the best talent the Rays could get, and you can always figure the rest out later when a team like Tampa Bay is rebuilding.

Still, it's not clear that getting Gallo now would salve any wounds the current offense needs healed.

Previously: The Rays should be hesitant to trade for Joey Gallo

Jared Ward contributed to this article.