Why did the San Diego Padres sign Rougned Odor to a minor league deal?
At one time, Rougned Odor was one of the best second basemen in the MLB. Now a minor league deal is the best he can get.
Rougned Odor is only 29 years old, with, in the words of Keith Floyd, “a brilliant future behind him.” Ever beloved by Texas Rangers fans for punching Jose Bautista in the face (and come on, really, who doesn’t want to do that?) back in 2016, Odor was seen as the most promising second basemen in baseball.
Once a solid hitter with better than average strikeout rates and belting out 33 home runs, he has dropped his plate production to nearly 28% strikeouts and only 13 home runs last season.
Oh, Icarus, how far you have fallen, still you flew!
The deal that Odor has with the Padres is a minor league deal, one that offers him a chance to showcase his talent and earn his way onto the full time roster, but for a name of such renown, this is a certain step down in stature.
Despite his fall from grace, Odor is still seen around the league as a clutch hitter. Perhaps it is the experience that he brings to the table, but he has a knack of being the guy you want at the plate when the chips are down.
With the Padres lineup as strong as any in the game, there are a few notable gaps that Odor could fill. Fernando Tatis Jr is not eligible to play before April 20, since he is finishing out his suspension. Outfielder Adam Engel has a strained calf that could keep him out of the opening weeks. There are several minor league players competing to fill those spots and Odor has a leg up for two reasons.
Firstly, he may struggle overall, but against right-handed pitching, Odor has a .725 career OPS, which could see him used as a DH in those kinds of situations. And then there is the relationship that he has with the front office.
Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller was previously assistant GM in Dallas, and has shown a preference for reuniting old familiar Texas faces. He has brought in former Rangers Jurickson Profar, Ian Kinsler, Nomar Mazara, Keone Kela, Mitch Moreland, Carl Edwards Jr., Luis Sardinas, Yu Darvish, Nelson Cruz and Nick Martinez.
And now you can add Rougned Odor to that list.