In a move that came out of nowhere, the New York Yankees acquired Rougned Odor from the Texas Rangers according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The package in exchange for Odor is reportedly two prospects, though it isn’t clear who is being sent out just yet. Whoever is going probably isn’t anywhere near the Yankees’ top prospect pool — Odor was designated for assignment from the team at the end of spring training, and his time with the Rangers was all but over.
The Yankees cut the line on any eventual waiver claims by making this move, but they’re still likely paying Odor as if he was a waiver pickup. Odor is owed $27 million for this season and next, and that’s including his buyout option for 2023, but Texas is reportedly eating almost all of that money. It’s the only way a trade would make sense here, especially considering the priority that the Yankees put on staying below the luxury tax threshold this offseason.
That limited ability to spend and improve the team was bound to play a part in how the Yankees addressed improving the roster down the line, but it’s certainly shocking to see them working this early. Granted, they’re addressing a minor need by bringing in Odor, but moves like this may be the blueprint for the season going forward.
Odor’s spot on the 40-man roster is questionable, but he slots in with Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada on the depth chart now. The Yankees will get their own opportunity to take a look at Odor internally, and get a feel for where his form is. The second baseman was an above-average bat that provided a spark in the Rangers lineup when they were last competitive in 2015 and ‘16. Since signing his extension, the numbers haven’t been pretty — Odor has posted 56, 95, 77, and 60 wRC+ seasons in the last four years.
For now, Odor is another project for the Yankees to add on. He’s a more established player than say, Gio Urshela was before New York took him under their wings and let him blossom into their starting third baseman, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they see some upside still in Odor’s bat. We’ll know in the coming days what the team has planned for Odor, and we’ll know soon enough what the team paid to make this move, but at the moment he’s a gamble that Brian Cashman was willing to make.
The New York Yankees announced today that they have acquired INF Rougned Odor and cash considerations from the Texas Rangers in exchange for minor league outfielders Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) April 6, 2021
To make room for INF Rougned Odor on the 40-man roster, the @Yankees designated INF Thairo Estrada for assignment.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) April 6, 2021
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees also optioned RHP Michael King to the Alternate Site.
The return is in, and the Yankees have sent outfielders Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers over to the Rangers. The deal was officially announced by the club, and the Yankees also announced that infielder Thairo Estrada (already behind Tyler Wade and Derek Dietrich on the depth chart) was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Michael King — who was unavailable after 68 pitches on Sunday — was also optioned to the alternate site. That means Odor is potentially heading right up to the Bronx, though Aaron Boone said that there would be an “intake” period, so we might wait see another 26-man transaction.