With the Texas Rangers planning to emerge in 2020, it’s time they think long and hard about what to do with the ever-struggling Rougned Odor.
Sigh in disappointment… let’s talk Rougned Odor. We’ve entered the final month of the regular season; there is no more “wait and see,” there is no more defense, and there is hardly any hope remaining for the Texas Rangers second baseman. He is the lowest among MLB qualifiers in batting average, he’s posted a career-low WAR and he’s currently in a 2-for-35 stretch at the plate. Odor is hurting the team, not helping it.
So, how should the Rangers handle him moving forward?
The situation is more drastic than ever. Not only is the high-dollar Odor performing terribly, but the club is trending in the right direction and should be a playoff threat as early as next season. More of the same from Odor in 2020 — or anything close to the same — and the Rangers will be lessening their chances.
He’s obviously replaceable, and there are plenty of players in a position to replace him. Texas needs to find a place for Danny Santana next year. Infielder Nick Solak has played impressive baseball in a short sample. Also, there’s a moderate chance the Texas Rangers focus Willie Calhoun‘s offseason efforts around second base to accommodate a crowded and youthful outfield.
All three of those players have given the organization more to work with than Odor has this year.
In case you were wondering, Rougned Odor cannot be sent to the minor leagues. His MLB service time has exceeded the mark that gives a team the power to demote a player without his say. Texas would now have to subject Odor to waivers before sending him down, which is a risk.
Still, that is an option, and there’s a strong possibility Odor would clear waivers and end up in the minor leagues. Though, a better option may be to test him on the trade market this offseason. His numbers are not good and his contract is far from appealing. But he’s 25 years old and he certainly has some ability that another team might like to experiment with. The Rangers won’t be negotiating with power, but they’ll be able to deal Odor if they eat the vast majority of his contract.
It’s never ideal for an organization to be paying a player to play for another squad; however, it happens from time to time all throughout sports. Furthermore, Texas doesn’t want an unproductive player taking up a spot on the 25-man roster. One more horrendous season from Odor and he’ll essentially have no trade value. That’s why the time may be as good as it ever will be to ship him elsewhere.
The other option is to treat him as a utility man. The Texas Rangers would send the message to him after the season that he’s no longer being looked at as the club’s starting second baseman. Perhaps that would give him the nudge he needs to get his game into shape.
Come spring training, Texas would assess his game and make a judgement call as to whether he can produce at an acceptable level. If not, send him to the pine.
The main issue with that plan is Rougned Odor is not a traditional utility player. He can only play one position. Plus, given his inconsistency even with consistent playing time, it’s unlikely he’d be much of a threat coming off the bench in periodic fashion.
I think we’ve already seen the best of Rougned Odor in a Texas Rangers uniform. I think there are a number of second base options that will help the team more than Odor moving forward. I think the Rangers will find a way to move him this offseason.
He’s had more than his fair chance to prove himself, and a .194 batting average alongside a -1.0 WAR in his 6th big league season just isn’t cutting it. It’s time for the Rangers to reset and move on without him.