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On Losing: Rougned Odor

In the aftermath of the 40-Man Roster crunch from last Friday, the Yankees designated three players for assignment. The Yankees now have until this upcoming Friday to trade these players, and if not they’ll become unrestricted free agents.

Of those three DFA’ed players, the Yankees announced on Tuesday that they have released Rougned Odor.

 
The Yankees have released OF Clint Frazier and INF Rougned Odor. — New York Yankees (@Yankees) November 23, 2021

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What Did the Yankees Lose?

Rougned Odor was acquired by the New York Yankees in a trade with the Texas Rangers at the very beginning of the 2021 season. The Texas Rangers had previously DFA’ed Odor while eating the remaining 2 years and $26M on a 6/$49.5M contract he signed back before the 2016 season. In the trade the Yankees sent back two minor leaguers and minor prospects Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers.

Now, the Rangers had good reason to remove themselves from Rougned Odor. In the 2020 season he hit to a .167/.209/.413 triple-slash (.623 OPS/66 OPS+). He also combined this with below-average defense which resulted in -0.3 bWAR. In 2019, Odor hit a bit better (79 OPS+), but played even worse defense to the tune of a -0.6 bWAR. To be fair, the last positive bWAR season that Odor had was 2018 +2.5), and the last positive OPS+ season he had was 2016 (105).

For the Yankees, Rougned Odor hit to a .202/.286/.379 (.665 OPS/82 OPS+) while playing decent defense en route to a +0.3 bWAR. Over 103 games it wasn’t great but for a player that the Yankees paid nothing for, it wasn’t necessarily bad. He did also have 2 different stints on the IL (and one on the paternity list) so it wasn’t like Odor was a great addition, but Rougie did bring some fun energy to the Yankees.

Was it worth the price? Probably. The Yankees got some thing for a relatively cheap price (neither Cabello or Stowers did much of anything in 2021 and neither are in Texas’ Top-30 prospects list).

Was it worth it to bring back Odor for 2022? Probably not. It’s likely he’ll be available again to sign if the Yankees need a bench bat for the veteran minimum.

 

My Thoughts:

I did not like Rougned Odor. I did not want Rougned Odor. And, wow, what a change a shave does for a player.

If you asked me how old Rougned Odor was when he was with the Texas Rangers I figured that he was about 32/33 years old. He had been in the league for a while and with his facial hair I was convinced the Yankees got another aging vet. I would’ve never figured he was just 27 years old. Then, he had to shave and I could be convinced.

For years I made fun of Odor. Mostly for his name (and, yeah, I know, I’m not one who can mock someone else’s name), but also the beard, the fight he was in with Jose Bautista, everything. I would’ve never thought that I’d enjoy having him on the Yankees.

It really goes to show that our perceptions are not always correct. I thought Odor was a jerk. He had the look, he had the name, he had the background. How was I supposed to see him as a player who would light up the bench? Heck, I really started to root for the guy. He was fun. He had that energy. (In a lot of ways he reminded me of Ronald Torreyes.)

Am I going to miss Rougned Odor? Well, not really. He was fun to root for as a bench guy but outside of a few fun moments (like when he hit a home run after a time call), he really didn’t add a ton to the Yankees. Yes, I always want the lefty bat. However, I need that bat to hit.

Odor is going to find a team that will take him on the veteran minimum for 2022. A team trying to operate with a low payroll (Oakland, Cleveland, Colorado, Arizona, etc.) will definitely see him as a player worthy of at least a bench spot.Embed from Getty Images

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