Veteran infielder Rougned Odor has signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Hochi Sports. Odor had been a free agent since he was released by the Padres back in July.
Signed to a minor league deal last winter, Odor made San Diego’s Opening Day roster and appeared in 59 big league games, hitting .203/.299/.355 over 157 plate appearances. He acted as a left-handed hitting complement to the Padres’ largely right-handed infield group, and also chipped in at several positions around the diamond. Odor spent most of his time at his traditional second base spot, but also saw some playing time as a third baseman, and played some first base and right field for the first time in his MLB career.
Best known for his long stint as the Rangers’ everyday second baseman, Odor hit 127 homers over 2869 PA with Texas from 2015-19. His power was essentially the only plus within an otherwise inconsistent offensive approach that included few walks and an increasingly large number of strikeouts, and Odor hasn’t posted an above-average (better than 100) wRC+ since the 2016 season. For his career as a whole, Odor has an 85 wRC+ and a .230/.288/.422 slash line to go along with 178 career home runs.
The lack of production stood out given that Odor had signed a six-year, $49.5MM extension with the Rangers prior to the 2017 season. Texas ended up trading Odor to the Yankees prior to the 2021 campaign, and Odor then caught on with the Orioles for the 2022 season. Odor received some praise for his veteran leadership on a young O’s team that broke out to win 83 games, signalling the end of the club’s long rebuilding process.
Though he already has ten Major League seasons on his resume, Odor is still a couple of weeks shy of his 30th birthday. He’ll now start his next decade with a new chapter in his baseball career as he heads to Japan, and whether he shows enough to catch the eye of Major League scouts for a future return to North America remains to be seen. At the very least, Odor has secured a larger guaranteed payday for himself for 2024 than he would have found in the big leagues, as the infielder would’ve been limited to minor league offers.