Texas Rangers trade rumors involving Rougned Odor and Mike Minor are circulating, with Evan Grant saying that the Rangers are “somewhat aggressively” trying to move Odor in a “money swap deal” — presumably a bad contract for a bad contract, although theoretically also involving Odor going somewhere else with a bunch of cash to subsidize the $25 million he is owed for 2021-23.
The trade deadline is 3:00 p.m. Central tomorrow, Monday, August 31, and the player who has been most talked about has been Lance Lynn, who has pitched great for the Rangers and who is under contract for next year at $8 million. Jon Morosi said earlier today that a Lynn deal was “increasingly likely,” but Evan says that the Toronto Blue Jays have been “actively engaged” with the Rangers about Mike Minor, who is a free agent after the season.
Minor has been very good in his two years in Texas, but has struggled this year, with his velocity being off and the results simply not being there. Texas has the ability to make Minor the qualifying offer for 2021 this offseason, and either get him back on a one year, $17-18 million deal, or get a compensatory draft pick if he declines the offer. With Minor, at this point, seemingly likely to accept a qualifying offer if it is made, the Rangers would have to decide if they would want Minor back at that price — if not, the Blue Jays don’t have to offer much to make the Rangers be open to dealing Minor.
Odor, meanwhile, is the more consequential news, I believe. Odor inked a 6 year, $49.5 million deal prior to the 2017 season, and then promptly went out and put up a .204/.252/.397 slash line in 2017. He bounced back with a decent .253/.326/.424 season in 2018 which, together with quality defense, gave him a 3.1 bWAR, and made the extension look better. Odor struggled again in 2019, though, and has slashed .150/.198/.288 in 22 games this year.
Odor has not played since Monday due to an eye infection, and I have wondered if they have kept him active because they are trying to move him in a trade. I previously suggested that I thought he would be traded or released by the end of the season, given his struggles and the diminishing level of positivity you’ve heard from Chris Woodward in talking about Odor. With Elvis Andrus due back from the injured list, likely on Tuesday, and Ronald Guzman having been called up, the Rangers would appear to be able to roll with a Guzman/IKF/Elvis/Frazier infield, with Nick Solak also around to get potential playing time at second base.
If you aren’t going to start Odor, there’s no point in keeping him around because he has no value as a bench player, given his lack of defensive flexibility. I am thinking that Odor has played his final game for Texas, and if he’s not traded by tomorrow, he will be designated for assignment on Tuesday to make room on the active roster for Elvis.
In regards to possible trade destinations for Odor, I have suggested San Diego in a deal involving Wil Myers (owed $41 million in 2021-22, including a buyout of his 2023 option), but Myers has actually been hitting this year, putting up a .304/.380/.609 slash line, so while he’s still got negative value, the Padres would seem to be less inclined to just jettison him in a salary dump. That said, Odor was originally signed by the Rangers when A.J. Preller was overseeing the team’s Latin American operation, and he would represent an upside play — Odor was not too long ago a highly coveted commodity, and even now, he’s going to be enticing to a team that feels that getting a fresh start with a new organization could help him mentally and allow him to get back on track. And there would be a certain irony in Odor potentially supplanting Jurickson Profar yet again.
Another possible option would be a deal with Baltimore. Chris Davis is owed $23 million in 2021 and 2022, with $6 million of that deferred without interest. His contract is more onerous than that of Odor, who is owed $12 million in 2021 and 2022, along with $1 million if his 2023 option is bought out, but the deferral on Davis’s deal reduces the present value, and with Odor providing some upside that Davis wouldn’t — Davis is slashing .122/.173/.184 this year, and .169/.252/.300 since the start of 2018, with a -5.7 bWAR over that time — Baltimore might feel its worth kicking in cash to make the deal work.
Baltimore also has Alex Cobb, who is owed $15 million for 2021, and who has a 4.33 ERA and 4.72 FIP in 35.1 IP this year. Odor has more dead money than Cobb, but if the Rangers deal Lynn, they could look at Odor and cash for Cobb, with an eye towards Cobb taking some of the innings Lynn would have.
And for those of us who remember the 2017-18 offseason, it would be kind of entertaining for the Rangers to move Lynn while acquiring Cobb.