4:58pm: The Yankees will pay Odor the prorated minimum this year ($570,500) and next, but that money will not count against their luxury tax bill, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.
2:32pm: The teams have announced the trade. The Rangers acquired outfielders Josh Stowers and Antonio Cabello in return for Odor and cash. Notably, Texas announced Cabello as a catcher/outfielder, though he’s played exclusively the outfield in his minor league career to date. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN ranked Cabello as the Yankees’ 18th-best prospect, tweeting that he has the necessary tools for both center field and catcher. Cabello, whom the Yankees signed out of Venezuela for $1.4MM in 2017, hasn’t climbed above rookie ball yet, though he’s still just 20 years old. He owns a .251/.344/.409 line with eight home runs in 443 professional plate appearances.
Stowers, 24, has now been part of two trades during his career. He was originally a second-round pick of the Mariners in 2018, but they dealt him to the Yankees as part of a three-team deal that also included the Reds and centered on righty Sonny Gray. Stowers slashed an impressive .273/.386/.400 with seven homers and 35 steals in Single-A ball in 2019, his lone season in the New York organization. However, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wrote over the winter that he doesn’t expect Stowers to max out as more than a fourth outfielder in the bigs.
1:22pm: The Yankees are sending a pair of prospects to the Rangers in the deal, tweets Sherman.
1:05pm: The Yankees and Rangers are finalizing a trade that will second second baseman Rougned Odor to New York, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). The Rangers designated Odor, who has two years and $27MM remaining on his contract, for assignment prior to Opening Day. Given that substantial commitment and the Yankees’ general aversion to paying the luxury tax, the Rangers are surely offsetting the majority of Odor’s contract in some capacity. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the two sides have agreed to a deal.
It’s a bit surprising to see the Yankees taking on Odor, although it’s hard to imagine a park better suited for the 27-year-old lefty hitter’s pull-happy approach than Yankee Stadium. Odor’s strikeout rates have climbed continually since he signed an ill-fated six-year, $49.5MM extension with the Rangers, and generally been a poor all-around performer due to significant on-base deficiencies.
However, Odor’s power has never really been in question. He has three 30-homer seasons in the past five years and swatted 10 long balls in just 148 plate appearances last year. The trade-off for that pop has been a strikeout rate that has soared north of 31 percent in the past two seasons and an overall .215/.279/.418 batting line through 1915 plate appearances dating back to 2017.
Odor figures to join a Yankees bench that currently features catcher Kyle Higashioka, outfielder Mike Tauchman, outfielder Brett Gardner and infielder Tyler Wade. The only one of the bunch who has a minor league option remaining is Wade, and given that he’s also the only infielder of that group, it seems likely that he’ll be bumped to accommodate Odor’s acquisition. That would make Gio Urshela the primary backup to Gleyber Torres at shortstop, with Odor likely handling third base should Urshela be pressed into action at short for any reason.