Yankees View Rougned Odor as 'Talented' Addition With Plenty of Upside

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NEW YORK — The Yankees acquired second baseman Rougned Odor from the Rangers on Tuesday. While the second baseman hasn't produced great numbers in recent years with Texas, New York believes they're getting a talented and versatile asset.

"I think it was just a chance to add a talented guy to add some depth to our roster," manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday shortly after New York made the trade official. 

Odor was designated for assignment by the Rangers on April 1 after failing to earn a spot on their Opening Day roster. The left-handed hitter struggled quite a bit in 2020, hitting .167 in 38 games during his seventh big-league season.

Nonetheless, it's the 27-year-old's upside at the plate and budding flexibility on defense that has Boone excited.

"The talent is there we feel like undeniably," Boone said. "He has the ability to really impact the ball from the left side at Yankee Stadium. We feel like that could play up and hopefully just getting in our environment, our culture, hopefully we'll unlock some things for him and we'll see."

As much as Odor failed to hit for average over the last several seasons in Texas, he's shown flashes of his ability to produce hard contact and hit for power. In 2019, for instance, Odor barreled up 13.6 percent of his batted balls over 145 games, per Statcast. That was better than 92 percent of qualified hitters that season.

With some pop as a lefty, it's hard not to imagine how Odor's swing will play at Yankee Stadium. Across 17 games in the Bronx in his career, the infielder is hitting .246/.310/.415 (16-for-65) with three home runs.

Further, Boone said that Odor is a "solid" defender at second base to go along with some work at the hot corner this spring.

"Hopefully he can get here and hopefully we can help him get that talent out that we've seen flashed of over the years," he said. "He's a guy that played some third base this spring so we view him as a guy that can maybe move around a little bit, but we'll see."

New York announced that utility man Thairo Estrada had been designated for assignment as a way to free up a spot for Odor on the 40-man roster. There's still a chance Estrada can stick around, if he passes through waivers, but the Yankees clearly value Odor's power from the left side. 

In exchange for Odor, the Yankees sent two minor league outfielders—Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers—back to Texas.

Boone said he's not exactly sure when Odor will be able to officially join the team, as he'll be subject to intake testing. Plus, since he was released by Texas, New York will need to assess Odor's status physically and see if he's ready to play right away. Odor's role with the Yankees is yet to be determined, as well. 

Mix in the wrinkle that New York isn't paying for Odor's contract in this deal and Boone doesn't see any negatives in the acquisition. To New York's skipper, the ceiling is high with Odor in pinstripes.

"It's about not having to pay the contract that he's under, it's about this point of the season in April being able to add a talented guy with some potential upside," Boone explained. "If we can help turn him around a little bit, adding depth to the roster, I don't think that ever stops for [Brian Cashman] and the front office as far as just trying to improve on the margins when it makes sense to try and do so."

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