Texas Rangers

Rangers’ patience wearing thin with Rougned Odor, who has one month to turn it around

Woodward hopes Rangers’ glove issues are temporary

Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward hopes his team snaps out of the fielding woes that hurt them in a four-game sweep to the Minnesota Twins.
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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward hopes his team snaps out of the fielding woes that hurt them in a four-game sweep to the Minnesota Twins.

There are some columns in a career you don’t want to write, especially when it’s about a guy who was just so kind and nice to your own kid.

How do I say the Texas Rangers need to drop Rougned Odor when one of my most cherished memories is of Odor giving my 8-year-old daughter a giant hug, and signing a ball for her on her birthday?

I can’t say the Rangers should dump Odor for the same reason the team can’t. The only reason the Rangers have not completely given up on Odor the player is because of Odor the person.

He has to know that after six MLB seasons he has reached the end. He has one more month to prove he is worthy of a spot in this lineup every day, or that is a wasted spot and management will deem him expendable and will want him elsewhere.

For the Texas Rangers, September is Rougned Odor Month.

THE ROUGNED ODOR ISSUE

No player disgusts Rangers fans, however many there currently are, more than Odor. For the right reasons. Odor’s statistics could be banned by the internet.

“I don’t pay attention to any of it,” Odor said Tuesday before the Rangers’ split doubleheader against the LA Angels, played in front of at least two dozen people.

“I know I’m not hitting good. I know that when I’m not hitting good, and you pay attention to that, you go down. I know I have to do something different.”

No argument here.

The Rangers, are, again in the position of defending their decision of keeping Odor as an everyday player.

They do so because he works hard. That he is agreeable. That he is an arrive-early, stay-late player who tries to be great. They do so because they like him.

That and they are on the hook with Odor for four more years and a total of $46.5 million. Now, he does have a buyout ... which is $3 million, and can be exercised in 2023.

Those guys are hard to bench. Especially when there is no one behind him that screams, “Play me instead.”

ROUGNED ODOR’S FUTURE WITH THE RANGERS

Odor wants to be the guy to replace Adrian Beltre as The Man in his clubhouse, for this franchise.

One small problem with that: No everyday player who sports a .203 batting average, an on-base percentage of .281 and other ugly metrics will be The Man in any clubhouse anywhere.

The basic law of a clubhouse is guys only listen to those who perform, and/or a guy who gets them paid. That’s not Odor.

Once he hits, people will listen.

Odor has hit in the big leagues before. It’s not as if he has never been a good hitter.

“Over the last couple of months he’s been one of our better hitters,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Tuesday.

About that. In the second half, Odor is batting .232 with an .826 OPS. He’s also on pace for a career high in walks.

“He’s always going to be a streaky hitter,” Woodward said.

The Rangers can live with streaks, provided the bad ones just don’t last months.

“He’s really controlling the environment and digging into being a good hitter,” Woodward said. “He’s asking the right questions.”

This is all well and good, but we have heard this before when it comes to this player. Odor will be 26 next year, with six full MLB seasons on his resume.

The Rangers committed too early to Odor, but that decision is done. They have stuck with Odor through many a bad streaks, and their patience is justifiably nearly expired.

They stuck with the player because of who he is as a person.

Rougned Odor the player has one month left.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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