ARLINGTON, Texas – Ragned Odor, the Texas Rangers’ starting second baseman for the past seven seasons, has been told he will not be on the roster on opening day after moving to third base this spring, the team announced Monday.
The Rangers also announced Monday that former closer Jose Leclerc will undergo Tommy John surgery.
President of baseball operations John Daniels said the Rangers don’t play a day-to-day role for Odor. The 27-year-old infielder has two seasons and $24.6 million left on his six-year contract, as well as a $3 million buyout option on the team’s $13.5 million option in 2023.
I think what really happened was that we made a decision, clearly a pretty clear direction, looking forward. And having him play every day was not in our plans this year, Daniels said. Looking to the future, we think younger players will come to us. And we didn’t think it would be in his or our best interest to put it on the back burner.
The Rangers did not immediately contract Odor. The team explored a possible deal before it had to officially reveal its roster before the season opener Thursday. Daniels said he didn’t expect to find the right person in the trade and that the team hadn’t asked Odor if he wanted to go to the minor leagues.
It’s a decision just for baseball, and it’s more of an organizational decision, manager Chris Woodward said. Rughey is a man who has always considered himself an average player, a potential superstar in his own mind. And he had his moments, especially early in his career. I don’t think it would be fair to put him in a role that isn’t common.
Daniels said veteran Brock Holt, who grew up a Rangers fan, and Charlie Culberson will join the team after being invited to attend camp. Nick Solak will be the starter at second base.
As for Leclerc, general manager Chris Young told reporters that Rangers are behind his decision to operate. Leclerc began experiencing pain in his right elbow last week and returned to Texas to be examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister.
We certainly support this decision and are disappointed in Jose’s loss. We hate that he has to go through this trauma. It is a great loss to our club. We look forward to Jose’s recovery and hopefully we’ll be back next year, Young said, per MLB.com.
Odor led Texas with 30 RBIs in 38 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and, along with Joey Gallo, hit the team’s best 10 home runs. But Odor hit just .167 with seven of his 11 home runs in September, while striking out 47 on 138 hits. He hit .205 during the 2019 season. In 858 games for the Rangers since his debut in 2014, he hit .237 with 146 home runs and 458 RBI.
In the end, I felt like he understood the reasons for our move. We tried to get as much out of it as we could. He handled it like a pro, Woodward said. He was really a class act all spring. He complied with everything we asked of him, playing third base and doing things he didn’t like to do.
Leclerc had a breakthrough season in 2018, notching a 1.56 ERA in 57⅔ innings and saving 12 games. He made a total of 26 saves between the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He began the 2020 season as Texas’ closer, but was demoted after a difficult first month. He made just two appearances at the end of his 60-game season before being shut down by a shoulder injury.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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