Yankees: What does the Rougned Odor trade mean for New York?

Former Texas Rangers slugger Rougned Odor is coming to the Bronx. Yes, color New York Yankees fans shocked.

Odor was recently DFA’ed by the only team he called home for his MLB career as the Rangers roll with youngster (and former Yankee!) Nick Solak at second base.

Truth be told, Odor has not been good — or at least consistently good — for quite some time now. His defense has never been entirely lockdown, and though he boasts incredible power (he’s had three 30-home run seasons), he’s flirted with the Mendoza Line multiple times.

The last two final straws for the Rangers were likely Odor leading the AL in strikeouts with 178 in 2019 and then following that up by hitting .167 in the shortened 2020.

Now, he’s a Yankee. So what does it all mean?

Well, for starters, the Bombers are moving on from someone that never really broke through or proved worthy of a big-league roster spot. Thairo Estrada was removed from the 40-man roster and subsequently designated for assignment, so he’ll likely land elsewhere. As for the active roster, Michael King, who still has options left, was sent to the alternate site.

So we can expect Odor to be on the Yankees’ bench once he arrives in New York. That’s not confirmed, but these roster moves certainly shed light on that being a likely possibility.

Additionally, Odor, who has exclusively played second base for the entirety of his MLB career, was showcased at third base this spring in his final days with the Rangers. That could give the Yankees some versatility, if they liked what they saw.

You might question the addition of Derek Dietrich then, who can play multiple infield spots as well as the corner outfield. He’s a three-true-outcome lefty slugger, too. So what’s the point of bringing in another redundant player?

Well, not to make excuses for Odor, but the Rangers have been among the worst teams in baseball since 2016. Texas hasn’t exactly been an environment conducive to success. That’s where the Yankees come in. They’re likely intrigued by the potential of Odor’s bat and what it could do in arguably the best lineup in the American League. Throw in the short porch at Yankee Stadium, and it’s not out of the question to think Odor could be in for a renaissance of sorts.

And then you look at the rest of the team’s depth. We don’t really know what Jay Bruce’s fate will be once Luke Voit returns and at this point the Yankees have to be honest with themselves in realizing that Tyler Wade’s bat is not going to come around. Plus, Wade has one option remaining, so he can be stashed at the alternate site if push came to shove.

Odor’s bat has much greater potential at this point than all of Dietrich, Bruce and Wade. Throw in the possibility of him playing third base, and that changes a lot. That would limit the demand for DJ LeMahieu moving around the infield and provide some rest for Gio Urshela, if need be.

But what about shortstop? Well, Gleyber Torres is 24 years old, so let’s pencil him in for 150 games. There’s no reason that shouldn’t happen unless he were to suffer an injury. If he does need rest, though, Urshela can shift to short, Odor/LeMahieu can slot in at second and third, and you have your starting infield.

This is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Yankees, with the risk being almost non-existent and the reward being everything. We certainly wouldn’t jump out of our seats after combing through how this could benefit the team, but it has the potential to be a championship move if Odor can provide formidable depth.