A couple of young Texas Rangers aren’t off to the starts they desired, but there’s still time for patience during a rebuild.
This is about Rougned Odor, but it’s also not about him. It’s really about baseball — about how it’s so difficult to predict and how it’s a beautiful sport but also so frustrating. As fans, we set expectations for players. If a player doesn’t meet expectations, we get confused and we demand answers. Many Texas Rangers fans are confused by Rougned Odor and Nomar Mazara right now.
Should the Rangers bench Odor? Travis Koch covered that here, but the Texas second baseman isn’t the only one under the microscope. In fact, this roster is full of questions right now. What about the scuffling Mazara? Will Willie Calhoun find a place in Arlington, or will his Rangers career end up a lot like Jurickson Profar‘s?
What about us fans? What should we actually expect from these guys? We get so caught up in the numbers and the hype that surrounds certain players from the moment they’re drafted or acquired. Odor is supposed to be one of the top second basemen in the game by now. Mazara is supposed to be on his way to an All-Star bid. And Willie Calhoun is supposed to be a productive everyday bat.
None of those players are meeting the lofty expectations that they set for us when they were doing impressive things in their developmental years. Everyone wants to see instant progress, but we can all be patient as the Rangers top off their rebuild.
Should the Rangers give up on Odor? On Mazara?
Deciding the proper play on those guys must be brutal for the front office. Their jobs are on the line, after all. For me as a fan, it’s easy to keep rooting for players, especially the homegrown ones. I want to see Odor and Mazara succeed. It’s a lot of fun to see a player grow from a rookie, and in Odor and Mazara’s case, literal teenagers, into successful veterans contributing on a playoff team. I may be dumb, but I’d take Elvis Andrus‘ time with the Texas Rangers over Alex Rodriguez‘s a hundred times out of a hundred.
That’s probably why I’m not running a team. My emotions get the better of me. And that’s the point. Despite all the simple numbers, baseball has the ability to elicit complex emotions. I don’t want to simply plug in another player at second base. I want Rougned Odor to figure it out, and I can’t really tell you why it matters to me that he does. But it matters a lot.
I don’t want to root for a jersey. I want to root for a baseball team. In other words, I want the players to stay together and for the Rangers to win with the group they have right now. Yes, there are times when it makes sense for a player to move on. Sometimes they don’t find success with the team you love, and that’s the worst.
But sometimes you must have patience. The Texas Rangers aren’t going to the playoffs this season. Therefore, they have time to wait on Odor and Mazara, and anyone else on the roster. Don’t forget, it’s a rebuilding year.
Rangers fans would also do well to remember Nelson Cruz, a beloved former Ranger who did not find success in the majors until his age 28 season. Odor is only 25. There is still time for him to find sustained success with Texas. The same goes for Mazara. Maybe it’s just my emotions talking, but I want these guys breakout with the Rangers, not some other team. I’m willing to wait to see it happen.