Rangers general manager Jon Daniels suggested last week the club could reduce beleaguered second baseman Rougned Odor’s playing time. Manager Chris Woodward was even more aggressive Thursday in saying the Rangers need better from Odor, telling TR Sullivan of MLB.com that he’s “obviously got to show some improvement.” Otherwise, the Rangers will “have to make some decisions,” Woodward said, adding: “We are willing to withstand some lack of production, but this is the big leagues. I hate to say it, but you’ve got to be good to play every day, and he knows.” Woodward believes the rest of the season will be critical for Odor, who has turned in abysmal production for the second time since 2017. Prospect Nick Solak has been eating into Odor’s playing time of late as a result. Contrary to the inexpensive Solak, Odor’s causing a sizable dent in the Texas payroll. He’ll earn a guaranteed $36MM from 2020-22, including a $3MM buyout for ’23. Finances notwithstanding, Woodward will be reluctant to continue penciling Odor into the lineup if he continues putting up bottom-of-the-barrel numbers.
- The Padres are anticipating a heated second base competition next spring between Luis Urias and Ty France, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Urias is the more hyped player of the duo, as he’s not far removed from a run as an elite prospect, but San Diego doesn’t want to simply hand him a starting job. The 22-year-old has recorded weak offensive totals since he debuted in the majors last season, having logged a .191/.302/.289 line through 202 trips to the plate, though Urias has been much more productive this month. He also laid waste to Triple-A pitching earlier this season. France, 25, has been even better this season at that level, where he has performed like one of the premier hitters in the minors with a jaw-dropping .399/.477/.770 line and 27 home runs over 348 PA. However, like Urias, France hasn’t done much at the big league level to this point.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington is seemingly leaving the door open for the club to promote one of its top prospects, third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, when rosters expand this Sunday. The 22-year-old hasn’t thrived overall this season in his first action at Triple-A, where he has batted .266/.334/.420 in 459 plate appearances, but he has caught fire since a slow start. Asked if the defensively adept Hayes’ recent success with the bat could lead to his first major league call-up, Huntington told Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic (subscription required), “It could in theory.” However, as you’d expect, Huntington went on to indicate the Pirates don’t want to rush him to the game’s highest level. With that in mind, Pittsburgh “probably” won’t summon Hayes to the majors this year, Biertempfel writes.
- White Sox star Yoan Moncada has already changed positions once during his short career. After playing second base from 2017-18, he has lined up at third for the entirety of this season. While Moncada told Scott Merkin of MLB.com he expects to continue at the hot corner “for a very, very long time,” he’d be willing to move elsewhere if it helps the team. That’s unlikely to happen, per Merkin, though he notes the White Sox could do a 180 if they’re able to land, say, third baseman Anthony Rendon in free agency. In that case, Moncada could shift back to second or even the outfield – two areas that have been weak points for Chicago in 2019.