Padres Pick Up Another Left-Handed Bat in Rougned Odor

San Diego has been active in recent weeks in the free agent market, and the Padres have signed yet another interesting veteran to a Minor League contract. Former Rangers slugger Rougned Odor, who spent last season with the Orioles, is reportedly headed to San Diego on a MiLB deal with an invite to Spring Training. Here’s a look at Odor’s 2022 season and how he may fit into the Padres’ plans in 2023.

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A Look at Odor

New Padres infielder Rougned Odor had some big moments for the Orioles last season, but does have glaring flaws in his game. An aggressive hitter at the plate who routinely records below-average Chase% and Whiff% rates, Odor owns plenty of pop but will strike out rather frequently. The 29-year-old has recorded several six consecutive below-average K% campaigns, although his strikeout rate from last season (23.1%) did mark his best since 2018.

Last season with Baltimore, Odor hit .207/.275/.357 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs. While the veteran infielder didn’t hit for a high batting average yet again — the last season he posted a .210 batting average or higher came in 2018 — he did manage to record a decent enough on-base percentage. That was buoyed, though, by ten times that he was hit by a pitch in 2022.

Despite being an erratic hitter, Odor’s defense has largely been dependable. Aside from last year’s -6 Outs Above Average (OAA), Statcast has given Odor a career OAA of +22.

Even though Odor has a strong end to the 2022 campaign, the 29-year-old will now look to crack the Padres Opening Day roster as a non-roster invitee. Odor is not the only left-handed bat San Diego picked up since the end of 2022. This past winter, San Diego signed power-hitting utilityman Matt Carpenter to a one-year deal.

What it Means

It’s blatantly obvious given the depth the Padres have in the infield, but Odor won’t be called upon to be a regular unless injuries arise. But, Odor can be a nifty left-handed bat off the bench for San Diego, something that the Padres don’t have much of on the 40-man roster.

Aside from the aforementioned Carpenter. San Diego’s left-handed options include catcher Brett Sullivan, infielder Jake Cronenworth, and outfielders Trent Grisham and Juan Soto. The latter three are all regulars for San Diego, while Sullivan is a catcher who has plenty of Minor League experience, but none in the majors. And with a probable tandem of Austin Nola and youngster Luis Campusano behind the plate for the Padres in 2023, the 29-year-old Sullivan seems primed to be back in El Paso (AAA).

Odor does offer some versatility, as he does have experience playing second and third at the MLB level. That, coupled with his ability to drive the ball, does make him an interesting non-roster player to break camp.

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