Texas Rangers: Should Rougned Odor Be Benched?

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Rougned Odor /

With Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor struggling at the plate, is it time for the team to make a change?

It’s well known that Rougned Odor has had his struggles at the plate this season. In fact, his problems date back to the 2017 season where he hit just .204 with a 162 strikeouts in 162 games. So far this year he’s off to a worse start, hitting just .181 with 23 strikeouts during 22 games. This poor performance raises the question, is it time for Odor to be benched? We asked this in a poll on Nolan Writin’s twitter and the results are below.

So after taking a look at the thoughts at our readers, let’s break down the reasons why or why not.

Rougned Odor Should Hit the Bench

The biggest reason why Odor should lose his starting job at second base is quite obvious. He’s been abysmal at the plate and pretty much a liability anytime he gets up. With an on-base percentage of just .250, we can pretty much assume that whenever Rougie gets an at-bat, he’s going to get out. That’s a really poor look for a guy who is supposed to be your future and seems to be broken at just 24 years old. All in all, Odor looks a far cry from the player we saw two years ago. A player that I fully admit, I picked to be an All-Star this year during the 2018 season.

Unfortunately for Odor, the reasons why he should not be a starter go beyond his control. When Odor went to the DL with an injury earlier this season, Texas called up Isiah Kiner-Falefa as his replacement. Kiner-Falefa impressed fans and coaches alike quickly in his opportunity. IKF as he’s often referred to has outperformed Rougie in more games this season. With 35 games under his belt, Kiner-Falefa is .252 with an impressive .326 on-base percentage. Yes, these aren’t light the world on fire numbers, but IKF is just 23 years old and already seems like a more developed hitter than Rougie. His plate performance combined with his versatility defensively propel his value possibly above Odor’s.

Rougned Odor Is Your Second Baseman, Don’t Replace Him

This argument requires a bit more patience and a big picture mindset. Very difficultly, we have to overlook over a season’s worth of struggles for Rougie to try and focus on why he may still be the Rangers future at second.

First off, Rougned Odor is just 24 years old. It’s easy to forget how young Odor is because he’s been in the big leagues for a few years now. But at 24, he’s still considered a developing player which points the Rangers towards keeping him in the lineup.

Along with his age, Odor is just a season and a quarter removed from being one of the better second basemen in baseball (see article referenced above). Rougie posted a .271 average in 150 games during the 2016 season. In fact, through his first 3 seasons in the majors, Odor had a combined .264 average in 384 games which is what had fans so excited. This is the big picture that is hard to focus on. This is also probably the mindset of Texas when considering Odor. The Rangers are hoping Odor can find his stride at the plate as it’s proven that he has the ability at such a young age.

Perhaps the least compelling to fans but most compelling to the front office is Odor’s contract. It’s not that Odor is overpaid and he must be in the lineup to try and offset some of that money. It’s rather that he’s paid a very agreeable salary and is locked up long term. Currently he ranks as the 24th highest paid second baseman in the MLB according to Sportrac. Next year, his salary jumps from $3.33 million to $7.83 million which has him on pace to be the 8th highest paid second baseman. At his contract’s peak in 2023, Odor would be due just $13.5 million with a $3 million buyout. Right now, his salary is pretty fair for his past production. But Texas will be desperate to get Odor to unlock his potential before his salary hits double digits which is where this deal could take a turn for the worse.