Just that very name generates an immediate reaction in Rangers fans that I don’t think has been experienced with this fan base in regards to a player since the days of Chan Ho Park. I know there were no doubt groans from a bunch of you when you saw this headline. And I know that a lot of people are so set in how they view him — and in how they think the Rangers will handle him — that my offering thoughts on anything related to him is in some ways an exercise in futility.
And yet, here I am, talking about Odor. And in particular, talking about how I think the Rangers will handle him as the season approaches.
I know there are a lot of folks who think that Jon Daniels and the Rangers can’t quit Odor, that it doesn’t matter what happens, Odor will be here come Opening Day, either as the starting second baseman or as the third baseman or on the bench.
And maybe he will!
That being said, I found myself thinking about a quote from Chris Woodward that was in a piece from Levi Weaver earlier this week.
Here’s what stuck with me:
Woodward did bring up an interesting point: Solak has already proven that he is capable of playing other positions (including left field) if he doesn’t win the second base job. Odor, on the other hand …
“Rougie, I can’t do that with. If he comes into camp and he’s only competing with Solak at second base, and he doesn’t win the job, it’s really hard to keep him on the roster if he can only play second base,” the manager said. “If we have 26 guys, a four-man bench, and one guy plays second base only … that lack of versatility or flexibility, for me, it doesn’t make sense. So that’s why we’re kind of asking Rougie to move around.”
I said back in August, when Odor landed on the injured list, that I didn’t think he would play for the Rangers again. I was wrong, obviously.
But the rationale for my thinking that is exactly what Chris Woodward says here — that if Odor is only a second baseman, you can’t carry him on the roster if he’s not the starter.
And given all signs are that Nick Solak will be the starter this year, barring something unexpected, this is an ominous quote for Odor. Yes, the Rangers are going to look at him at third base, and at shortstop...but he hasn’t played anything except second base as a professional other than 15 games at shortstop for Hickory in 2012. He does not appear to have the range to handle shortstop or the arm to play third base. He is too small to play first base (and doesn’t hit enough to play there), and the Rangers don’t have room for yet another lefthanded hitting left fielder/DH.
Woodward’s quote would seem to suggest that if Odor isn’t the starting second baseman, then he’s either going to have to show he can play shortstop and/or third base at a higher level than there’s any reason to believe he can play it, or he will be gone.