Rougned Odor has struggled all season, and while there might be better options for the Texas Rangers, he’s going to remain in the lineup. Here’s why.
It’s easy to say the Texas Rangers should bench Rougned Odor, or even designate him for assignment. His stats are not just bad; they’re a dumpster fire of sadness mixed with an endless parade of strikeouts. In a vacuum, the easy decision would be for the Rangers to move on to Danny Santana or Willie Calhoun.
But decisions like this aren’t made in a vacuum. The circumstances of a season, the personalities on the team and the money on the line all matter. And they all have to be taken into consideration by Jon Daniels and his staff.
Despite a surprising record, Texas is still nine games back of the first place Astros, and three and a half back of the second Wild Card spot. They’re just now entering one of the toughest portions of their schedule, playing the Rays, Twins, Angels, and Astros a lot over the next three weeks. So far it hasn’t gone well.
If the season continues to spiral, it’s likely the team will turn into sellers and begin trading off veterans like Mike Minor and Shin-Soo Choo. Their record will only get worse from there, and as the team auditions young prospects from their farm system, the losses will pile up. The Rangers will finish with a better record than some predicted, but still well out of the playoffs.
And if the playoffs aren’t a possibility, there’s reason to give Odor a chance to work out of the slump that is miring his career. In fact, the Rangers have about 30 million reasons to let Odor figure out how to succeed. They still owe him 33 million dollars over the next three years, and no matter how well the Rangers manage their payroll, it’s still tough to pay someone eight digits of salary per year to not play baseball for you.
So unless the Texas Rangers think they’ve got a real shot to win the World Series, or they find a trade partner willing to take on a sub-.200 hitter that makes about $10 million per year, it makes sense to play Rougned Odor every day to see if he can figure things out. Maybe then he’ll become the player the organization envisioned when they gave him so much money a few years ago.
For what it’s worth, in the last thirty games, Odor has put up a .235/.301/.480 slash with five home runs. In the last two weeks, his OPS is .889. It’s not amazing, but if he continues at this clip he’ll no longer be a liability for the team. And if he improves, he might even live up to the contract keeping him in the lineup now.
If you’re hoping to see Odor removed from the lineup, don’t hold your breath. Circumstances and economics will keep him at second base for now. In the meantime, there are signs he’s turned a corner, and Rangers fans can only hope he’ll keep it up.