Chris Woodward was asked yesterday if Odor was on the Opening Day roster, and he would not commit to it, immediately sending up alarms that the assumption that had widely been made — that Odor was the team’s starting third baseman — was not necessarily correct. Odor had taken competently to third base defensively, and the thinking appeared to be that his being able to handle the position decently would result in him getting the job to start the year. That is apparently incorrect.
Odor, 27, has struggled mightily since signing a 6 year, $49.5 million contract extension after the 2016 season. Odor was coming off a two year run as a .267/.305/.487 hitter in his age 21-22 seasons, and there was confidence that he would build on that success. Instead, he went backwards, slashing .215/.279/.418 in the four years since. He put up a 3.1 bWAR in 2018, but had an aggregate -1.2 bWAR in the other three seasons.
The team indicated that Nick Solak was expected to assume second base duties, and that if Odor was to make the club, it would have to be a result of being able to play other positions. Brock Holt was signed to a minor league deal with the expectation he would vie for right to hold down the third base job until top prospect Josh Jung was ready sometime this summer, but Odor got reps there all spring, and even when it was announced that Holt had made the club, it was assumed to be as a UIF. Instead, he will likely be the starting third baseman.
Odor is owed $27 million on his deal — $12 million this year, $12 million next year, and a $3 million buyout of his 2023 team option. The Rangers will presumably designate him for assignment and see if they can find a team to trade him to, either paying all Odor’s salary or assuming another bad contract in return. It seems unlikely that will happen, in which case Odor will be waived and released.
UPDATE — Per the beats, Jon Daniels just announced in a Zoom call that Charlie Culberson has made the roster and Rougned Odor has not.
He also announced that Jose Leclerc will undergo Tommy John surgery. That tidbit will get its own post shortly.