Rougned Odor won’t make opening day roster, is no longer a Texas Ranger

The Rangers on Monday fully embraced moving into a new era and letting the remnants of the past go.

Rougned Odor is no longer a Ranger.

The player who entered spring training as the player with the most remaining big-league service to the Rangers was informed he would not make the opening day roster. Because he has more than five years of major league service, Odor can’t be sent to the minor leagues without his permission. He can, in effect, force the Rangers to release him while still receiving more than $24 million guaranteed to him over the next two years.

Odor, 27, has played 858 games in a Rangers uniform and had one of the most memorable moments in team history — a TKO punch of Jose Bautista in 2016 after a dustup at second base. But he never seemed to recover from that viral moment where he was cast as a baseball tough guy. He seemed to try to live up to that reputation and his on-field performance declined.

José Bautista (19) recibe un golpe de Rougned Odor (12) el 15 de mayo de 2016 en el Globe Life Park in Arlington.(Richard W. Rodriguez / AP)

The decline was even more sharply pronounced after he signed a six-year, $49 million contract extension with the Rangers in the spring of 2017. Since the start of that year, his WAR ranks 137th of 138 players in the majors with at least 1,500 plate appearances. In 2020, he slashed just .167/.209/.413/.623 in 38 games.

The Rangers discussed benching him for the latter stages of the season, but manager Chris Woodward, lacking potential power options in the lineup, opted to keep playing him.

The club informed him over the winter that it would no longer consider him the regular second baseman and that it would likely take a longer look at Nick Solak at second this year. He was asked to learn to play third base in spring training. He showed more aptitude there than perhaps had been expected, but the determining factor about his future was always going to be his bat. He finished spring in a 2 for 21 skid that dropped his spring slash line to .200/.300/.400/.700.

The Rangers had informed non-roster invitee Brock Holt, a left-handed hitter like Odor, that he had made the team last week. But could not commit to him when officials were asked over the weekend.

Other roster notes from Grant:

— Charlie Culberson will make the roster.

— Jose Leclerc will have Tommy John surgery.

Find more Rangers coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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