Two players in particular have something to prove this spring. More than something. Everything to prove. Their jobs, and even careers, are on the line.
Ronald Guzman and Rougned Odor. Two Rangers players who couldn’t hit the ground if they fell from a building.
One player, Rangers fans are pulling for. The other, they are sick and tired of. Why is that? Why are Rangers fans seemingly ready to give Guzman another pass when they can’t wait for the door to slam shut on Odor on his way out?
Maybe it’s attitude. Maybe it’s that Guzman approaches the game with joy and Odor with cockiness. Maybe it’s that Guzman can play amazing defense, which can save a game and Odor has mostly been a liability at second.
Maybe it’s just that Odor has been a failure much longer and more epically than Guzman.
Whatever it is, both players are at a crossroads.
Guzman actually had a decent offensive season in 2020. He played in 26 of the 60 games, with the highest OPS+ of all the Rangers regulars, at 102, and had the highest OPS at .750.
These are not numbers that earn one a guaranteed job. But the numbers Odor put up usually earn you a one-way ticket to the Witness Protection Protest.
Both players came into camp reinvented. Guzman has gone back to his boyhood hitting coach and reinvented his swing. That helped him win the MVP in the Dominican Winter League. Which is nice. But that doesn’t translate to being able to hit in major league pitching. Odor has renewed focus and a determination to prove he belongs. The past four seasons have proven otherwise.
So, let the battle of the titans begin. Guzman and Odor. Answering the question, how many chances can you give a player until you realize he is who he is?