COLUMN: Does Odor Trade To Yankees Show Rangers' 'Commitment' Over 'Cash'?

The Texas Rangers have fully committed to the future. They've even been willing to eat a significant amount of money to do so.
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Rougned Odor's tenure with the Texas Rangers is over.

After four seasons of inconsistency, Rangers management ripped the Band-Aid off clean last week when they announced Odor would be designated for assignment. It was a difficult decision for president of baseball operations Jon Daniels, general manager Chris Young, and the rest of the management group to cut ties with Odor.

Say what you will about Rougie. Yes, his inconsistency ultimately led to the end of his tenure with the Rangers. But there's no denying what kind of player he was in the clubhouse or the role he played in the teams that won back-to-back American League West division titles in 2015-2016.

Maybe that's why it's been so hard to say goodbye. Odor's presence reminded everyone that success is not buried too deeply in the past.

But Daniels, Young, and Co. have opted to put the past behind them.

It's no longer about the good ol' days. It's been more than a decade since Texas won their first AL pennant, and we're coming up on a decade since that fateful night in St. Louis that cuts down to the bone for Rangers fans.

Daniels and Young have said goodbye to Elvis Andrus. Now, they've said goodbye to Rougned Odor. They've made it clear: It's about this year's young group. It's about right now. 

More importantly, it's about the future.

But moving on isn't easy. Not because of nostalgia or an unwillingness to let go of the best days in the history of the organization. It's because there were some legitimate hurdles to move players like Andrus and Odor.

The Rangers were tied to both Andrus and Odor for two more seasons, and both players had specific options for 2023. For two players that were on the decline, and had significant money tied to them, it was going to be an arduous task to move either one of them.

Moving both of them? Even more difficult.

Not only did Daniels and Young find a way to move both players, but they found ways to make actual baseball trades out of them. With Andrus, the Rangers made a deal with the Oakland A's, acquiring right-handed power threat Khris Davis to add some protection for Joey Gallo, a talented catching prospect in Jonah Heim, and 2020 fourth-round pick Dane Acker.

To move Andrus, the Rangers had to eat some of his contract and absorb all of Khris Davis' $16.75 million salary. According to Spotrac, the Rangers will pay $6.25 million of Andrus' salary in 2021, and $7.25 million in 2022. Davis is off the books after 2021.

Andrus still has some value as a player, and the A's needed a shortstop with the departure of Marcus Semien via free agency.

Baseball trade made.

With Odor, the decision to move on was much more complicated. He's coming off two awful seasons with the largest portion of his six-year contract due the next two seasons. 

Daniels said they talked with other clubs about a trade throughout the winter, but nothing ever came to fruition. That left the Rangers with one option if they were to pull the plug: designate Odor for assignment and ask ownership to eat the remaining $27.6 million of his salary.

"I certainly appreciate their support," Daniels said in his March 29 press conference. "It's not fun to make that kind of recommendation to be willing to eat that kind of money, especially coming off a year where the economics were what they were."

Ownership could have refused that move. After saying "yes" to eating $13.5 million of Andrus' salary, they opted to add $27.6 million to the ex-Rangers portion of the payroll.

That says two things: 1) ownership isn't as cheap as they're made out to be. 2) that is putting complete trust in Jon Daniels and Chris Young.

Somehow, Daniels and Young managed to pull off a trade with the New York Yankees during the 10-day period after designating Odor for assignment, acquiring two prospects — one of which was the Yankees' No. 20 prospect on Baseball America.

The catch? The Yankees agreed to only pay the league minimum of Odor's contract. 

Why is that significant? Daniels told the media on Tuesday that they had another offer on the table that would have given the Rangers more financial relief. Daniels said they prioritized talent over cash. Ownership, again, backed them.

The "ownership is cheap" narrative has taken some serious hits recently.

To tie all of this together, it's clear that ownership and baseball operations are on the same page. They are committed to getting this team back into contention, by any means necessary. There was no pulling teeth. It's cohesive. Just like the culture that is being preached from the top down and coming to fruition in the clubhouse.

Whether it's ownership, management, or the players, it doesn't matter. They're all in.

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Chris Halicke covers the Texas Rangers for Follow him on Twitter @ChrisHalicke.
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