Yankees: Every Once In A While, There’s A Diamond In The Rougned

Yankees Rougned Odor Aaron Boone Favorite

When the Yankees acquired Rougned Odor in a trade on April 6, most fans said, “Oh yeah, he’s the guy who punched Batista”. No more, though…

Take any winning Yankees team and you’ll always find at least two position players who came along to serve as role players on star-studded teams.

They’ve had different names like Randy Velarde, Luis Sojo, Homer Bush, and Ronald Torreyes but they all shared common attributes, and each will stir memories in the minds and hearts of Yankees fans.

First, they all arrived and left the Yankees with little or no fanfare. Second, each had or developed a doctor’s readiness to be on-call when their name was called.

And finally, each player had the knack to be the right man in the right place when called on, to do whatever the team needed at that moment in time.

Yankees Super-Sub Tyler Wade
Yankees Super-Sub Tyler Wade

This year’s version of the Yankees has not one but two super-utility players in Tyler Wade and Rougned Odor.

Wade has been profiled in this space before, the most recent of which was in May of this year when Aaron Boone explained Wade’s value for the Yankees.

Today, it’s Odor’s turn and in case you haven’t noticed, Boone has not flinched in having Odor play third base to fill in for Gio Urshela, and it was the same when he needed a second baseman to replace DJ LeMahieu when he was down.

Yankees: Dig And You’ll Find the Diamonds

Like most super-utility players, the numbers are not overly impressive, and it’s no different with Rougned Odor who carries a .221 BA into today’s game, with a .302 OBP, and a very pedestrian .702 OPS.

But when you look deeper at Odor’s 2021 splits, a number of diamonds in the rough come into easy view.

As a left-handed batter, Odor has helped to balance the Yankees lineup, and the oddity is how much his numbers rise against left-handed pitchers (.274, .369, and a .904 OPS).

Moreover, when a rally appears in jeopardy with a runner on third and two out, Odor bats .385 and has driven eight Yankees home.

In games where the Yankees bats are asleep, it is Odor who lights a match with a drag-bunt single, a feat he has accomplished three times, and only one of many reasons why Boone appreciates the way Odor plays the game.

In the field and like most of his peers, Odor is not flashy or spectacular but he makes all the plays a major league ballplayer is expected to make, although his play at third base credits him with 16 runs saved for the Yankees.

Yankees And The Upcoming Roster Crunch

Soon, the Yankees 26-man active roster will receive a jolt when Clint Frazier, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, and Anthony Rizzo return.

Add ’em up and you’ll see the Yankees are carrying fourteen pitchers, leaving only 12 spots for position players, nine of whom will be in the starting lineup – and that leaves Aaron Boone with only three on his bench, one of whom must be a catcher.

Brian Cashman: And the world turns its lonely eyes to you
Brian Cashman: And the world turns its lonely eyes to you

Tyler Wade, who has a hit, a run scored, and two stolen bases in today’s game in Kansas City has already been sent down once.

With the Yankees outfield finally settling down with the acquisition of Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton‘s occasional play in the field, the modest re-awakening of Brett Gardner, it would seem Frazier is a candidate to be sent down, especially given his numbers when the Yankees entrusted him as a regular.

Sanchez knocks Rob Brantley out, but it’ll be difficult for Boone if he doesn’t play Urshela and Torres nearly every day.

The plot thickens too by Luke Voit‘s impressive return as a fill-in for Rizzo (another hit and 2 RBI today). Nevertheless, when Rizzo returns, Voit is reduced to a substitute DH for Stanton, and as far as I know, there has never been a team to carry two first-baseman.

Rougned Odor: Does He Make The Cut?

So, the obvious question comes to the forefront – where does this leave Rougned Odor?

If it was up to Boone, which of course, it never is, he’ll be fighting like hell to keep both Wade and Odor on his team.

Aaron Boone pushing all the right buttons for the Yankees?
Aaron Boone pushing all the right buttons for the Yankees?

It is here that we will answer another question about the Yankees, and the answer will come from as it always does from their GM Brian Cashman.

Does Cashman recognize the wisdom of his manager, who knows the Yankees are a better team with speed, situational hitting, and versatility in the field – or is Cashman still stuck in the mentality of the team he built emphasizing the almighty home run?

Let it be emphasized that the recent surge by the Yankees has been accomplished without Sanchez, Frazier, Torres, and we can add Gerrit Cole who was MIA in his previous two starts -while Urshela gets a pass as the team’s most consistent and valuable player.

Yankees: Cashman No Choice But To Reveal His Cards

The rationalization always goes that a roster crunch is a problem any team would like to have. It’s not unless it’s a team that has a clear definition of what they are – today and tomorrow.

Brian Cashman, to his credit, has brought the Yankees to where they are today, and that includes all of the players mentioned above – but does he have the sensibility to build a team capable of competing in the 2020s, teams built on speed, defense, situational hitting, and bent on winning?

Roster expansion on September 1 will bring Cashman little relief as teams can only add two players, rather than a dugout crowding total that used to be forty.

Both Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade will be on the Yankees team then, but what I’m interested in more is seeing what Brian Cashman does with both before then…


The Yankees won today in Kansas City, completing their ninth series win in their last ten, albeit with their seventh error in their last two games, including two by Odor.

However, both Wade and Odor contributed (Box Score).

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Jack Hughes 2 errors today though I caught that too, especially the one in the 9th inning, overall he’s a keeper – no?

Steve Andersen Who names their kid Roughned? (Spelling?) Gary Bliss Steve Andersen same people who name their kid Steve, his parents. There is a story behind it, part father and grandfathers name

Charles Griffin He brings energy to the dugout too, kinda as Swisher did

Gene VanAmburgh Jr.  He had an awful game today, I can’t wait for Urshela to get well, Odor has a hard time at third base! True, but doesn’t his overall value to the team outweigh that?

Eric Breeze Two errors today and Yankees 8 total in that series good luck in Chicago Stop this. One game does not negate Odor’s contribution over the long haul…

Robert Kirschner His fielding error today could have led to another disastrous loss Oh dear, here we go again…

Terry Smith I know, but he’s a hell of a player otherwise

Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts

We’ve reached the end of page-length constrictions, so published comments are closed.

I have no idea why readers have chosen to evaluate Rougned Odor on the basis of one game in which he made two errors, one that potentially could have cost the Yankees a game in the ninth inning.

All I’ll say is dissenting readers did not read the content of today’s story…

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.