The kid gloves are off.
No more mollycoddling Rougned Odor. He needs to step up or sit down.
While those are the sentiments of ninety-nine percent of all Rangers fans, it hasn’t been echoed by Rangers management. In 2017, during a miserable season when he hit .204, they insisted on playing him in all 162 games. He started off the 2018 season bad as well, hitting .206 in April and .203 in May, with a total of one home run. He ran off three strong months before settling back into familiar .202 territory.
Those numbers, while bad, would be a significant increase to what he is doing now. Odor is either in Beast Mode or Least Mode. More often than not, its Least.
It seems the Rangers patience has worn thin. As Levi Weaver of The Athletic reported, Chris Woodward spoke openly, and candidly, about Odor to the media yesterday.
They asked him challenging questions. He didn’t back down. Usually these sorts of things bring PR responses and evasive answering. Not this time. Which suggests a shifting of sentiment.
Here are some of the more enlightening things Woodword said:
“Would you have hit that ball hard nine out of ten times? Or did you just get lucky the one out of ten? Because bad hitters hit home runs. Bad hitters get hits. Good hitters consistently do it. They don’t miss pitches that they’re looking for in the zone. They may be a little late, they may be a little early — that’s baseball — but, consistently, good hitters put good swings on good pitches, and they do damage on them.”
Woodward went on to acknowledge that Odor is probably suffering from an input overload. Everyone is telling him what to do, how to get out of it.
“Some of the worst advice I got was from my teammates because they didn’t know shit about hitting. They knew about how they hit, but it didn’t pertain to me.”
When asked at what point does Odor lose his job, Woodward said:
“If a guy is hitting .160 in July or August, typically they don’t have a spot on a big-league roster. But in his case, I just need to know that there’s a deep understanding of how he’s going to get out of this. He needs to understand that. And I need to hear it from him: what it is he needs to fix, at this point. Because what’s going on right now, it’s not getting it done. It’s not working. But I haven’t given up on him, obviously. I keep playing him. I believe in him more than any player on our roster, because I love who the kid is and what he represents. But at some point, he has to… dig in.”
Then he added the dagger:
“Just because you did it three years ago doesn’t mean it’s magically just going to come back. I don’t want to do the hope thing of, ‘Oh, I hope this works out.’ We’re past that.”
Odor hit .145 in April, with an OBP of .232 and an OPS of .458. In May, it was a tick better: .172/.230/.628.
It’s go-time for Odor. Or it’s time for Odor to go.
Homer Bailey (4-5, 5.79) vs. Lance Lynn (6-4, 4.66)
Game time: 3:05