Texas Rangers rumors: Rougned Odor was one of the success stories of the awful 2014 season. Jurickson Profar was supposed to be the Rangers' starting second baseman last year, but he spent the whole year on the disabled list, and after scuffling with Donnie Murphy and Josh Wilson as the second basemen, the Rangers ended up calling up Odor from AA in early May.
Everyone agreed the promotion was probably pre-mature, that Odor wasn't really ready yet, but the thought was that he wasn't far off, and he had the mental toughness to grind it out and survive at the major league level. And Odor did struggle, but finished the season hitting .296/.345/.481 in September, putting up an overall .259/.297/.402 line. Odor was impressive enough that, even before the news broke that Profar would miss the 2015 season, the expectation was that Odor was the incumbent second baseman, and Profar would be in AAA to start the season.
Now, here we are, one year and three days since Odor's major league debut, and we aren't asking if Odor is going to be sent down -- we are asking when. Odor has been brutal so far this year with the bat, putting up a .144/.252/.233 line, and has seemingly gotten worse as the year has gone on.
Evan Grant has a blog post up that examines Odor's issues, and delves into the Brooks Baseball pitch location data to identify how pitchers are pitching Odor differently, and how he's failed to adjust. Evan's analysis is spot-on, and rather than re-hash or summarize it, I'll tell you just to click on the link and check it out yourself.
I suspect part of the reason that the Rangers haven't made a move with Odor yet is that it isn't clear how the Rangers want to structure the 25 man roster without him. Adam Rosales would presumably move into the starting second base role, which would necessitate bringing up someone -- most likely Ed Lucas or Tommy Field -- to take his place. Neither player is on the 40 man roster, but there are only 39 players on the 40 man roster right now, so that's not really a major issue.
However, the Rangers are also going to be activating Mitch Moreland on Wednesday, and it may be that the Rangers are holding off on sending Odor down until Moreland is brought up. That would put the Rangers in a situation where Rosales would be starting at second base while also being the backup shortstop and third baseman, with Delino DeShields, Jr., manning second on those occasions Rosales shifts over in the infield. DeShields, who played second base prior to the 2014 season, when he moved to the outfield, has reportedly been taking ground balls at the position over the past week or so.
Such a move would allow the Rangers to keep Jake Smolinski up as a righthanded bench bat, at least until Josh Hamilton is ready to return from the disabled list, which probably won't be until next week at the earliest. With DeShields, Carlos Peguero, and Kyle Blanks all unable to be sent down without clearing waivers, using DeShields as the backup infielder, at least for the time being, would at least buy the Rangers a little more time to make a decision on what to do with their group of COF/1B/DH types.
UPDATE -- Jon Heyman tweets that Rougned Odor has, in fact, been optioned. No word yet as to the corresponding move to replace him on the 25 man roster.