Rougned Odor received a long-term extension from the Rangers
Despite not being eligible for arbitration until 2018 and not set to hit free agency until 2021, Rougned Odor, 23, has signed a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension with the Rangers, with a team option for a seventh season. The deal will keep Odor in Texas through at least the 2022 season.
One of baseball’s most brash players, many know Odor for his fight with Jose Bautista, punching the Blue Jays slugger in the face after he slid in hard to second base trying to break up a double play. The play, which earned Odor an eight-game suspension, put him on the national map, for what many consider the wrong reasons. Nonetheless, the punch made him a legend, and on the field, Odor burst onto the scene in 2016.
Playing second base, a position not known for its power, Odor became one of the premiere sluggers at the position in 2016, hitting 33 HR, with 88 RBI and a .502 SLG. Additionally, Odor set career highs with 89 runs, 164 hits, 33 doubles, 14 stolen bases, 2.4 WAR, a .271 AVG, and a .798 OPS, all of which likely contributed to the Rangers locking up Odor before he could break out any further and potentially cash in big during arbitration.
That said, Odor’s game does have major flaws, which he needs to improve on in order to be placed in the upper echelon of second baseman. His .296 OBP in 2016 (and career .302 mark) is well below average, which was on full display this past season, as Odor struck out 135 times, compared to only 19 walks. For Odor to become a superstar, he needs to cut down on his strikeouts, work on his contact skills, and begin to develop a more patient eye that will help him walk more at the plate. Additionally, Odor is not particularly strong defensively, with a negative DWAR in all three of his seasons in the bigs, including leading AL Second baseman in errors with 17 in 2015 and leading the entire AL in errors with 22 in 2016.
One major positive for the Rangers and Odor fans is how he has improved in all three of his seasons in the major leagues, raising his HR total (9 to 16 to 33) RBI total (48 to 61 to 88) runs scored (39 to 54 to 89) AVG (.259 to .261 to .271) SLG (.402 to .465 to .502) OPS (.698 to .781 to .798) and total bases (155 to 198 to 304) each season. For Odor, the contract provides him with financial security and flexibility, paying him an average of $8.25 million per season over the next six years, a huge raise from the $522,700 he made in 2016. In Odor, the Rangers are locking up a young and still improving talent, who even if his on-base skills never improve, should more than justify his yearly salary through his incredible raw power, especially for a second baseman.