Infield of the future. 276 comments

Nomar Mazara swings at the ball. 505 feet later, it lands.


As the Rangers look to the future, there is a good chance they will need to look at replacing their entire infield next season.

Elvis Andrus can opt out. There is no way to know where his head is. Yes, he could have opted out last year. But he had this year to fall back on as well, and with his injury damping down a lot of his production he didn’t need to make a decision until the end of this season. Two words loom large in his decision: Scott Boras. Teams have shown a reluctance to give long-term contracts to players over 30, so that might lead him to stay. But, Scott Boras has misread the market so many times recently there’s no reason to think he won’t do it again. If Andrus and Boras do opt out, the Rangers will need a new shortstop.

Asdrubal Cabrera signed a one-year deal. Rumor was the Rangers were lining up to make a serious run at Nolan Arenado. But he signed a long-term deal to stay with the Rockies. The next one in line is Anthony Rendon, who could sign an extension with Washington and take himself off the market. Either way, they will need a new third baseman.

Ronald Guzman has not developed into the kind of major league hitter needed to play first. His defense is sparkling. But first is a position that demands production. After a lackluster rookie season with a slash line of .235/.306/.722 (AVG/OBP/OPS), the Rangers were hoping Guzman would take a step forward. He has instead slipped backward: .209/.303/.744. If he had enough at-bats to qualify, he would be the fourth worst hitter in baseball. He is, however, the worst offensive first baseman in baseball. They need a new first baseman.

Rougned Odor is among the bottom ten of all major league players in WAR. That might not be a stat that a lot of fans embrace but it is one that major league front offices put a lot of stock into. In his career, Odor has been horrible a lot more than he has been great. In fact, since 2017, here are Odor’s splits per month, covering fifteen months:

Batting .250 or better:
2017:July (.266)
2018:June (.259), July (.341), August (.269)
2019: None

Batting .220 or worse:
2017:April (.196), May (.216), June (.208), August (.179), September (.159)
2018:April (.218), May (.203), September (.202)
2019:April (.145), May (.172), June (.197)

Look at those numbers. This is not someone in a slump. This is someone who has developed into an abysmal major league hitter. This is a guy who more than likely will hit under .200. He had a good 2014, he had half a good 2015 (the other three months, sub .200), he had a great 2016 for the first five months (and the final month struggled like he is now).

Since 2017, he is the Rougned Odor we are seeing. Since 2017, he is a .216 hitter. This team deserves someone they can count on, not someone who they have to constantly treat like a baby learning how to take its first steps with that fake joy when he stumbles forward a few inches. Every time it seems Odor might be turning the corner, he stays on the same path. After his grand slam in Cincinnati last Friday, Odor is 3-for-27. That’s .111. Two home runs and a double. The Rangers need a new second baseman.

It’s possible there could be an entirely new infield in the new Ballpark. Doubtful, but possible.

The future might not include Elvis. It probably won’t include Cabrera. It shouldn’t but probably will include Guzman because he is still young enough he might figure it out and because the Rangers don’t want to admit a mistake. It definitely will include Odor. Because, when it comes to Odor, accountability doesn’t seem to be part of the Rangers plan.

TODAY’S GAME:Odrisamer Despaigne (0-2, 8.71) vs. Lance Lynn (8-4, 4.16)
Game time: 8:05