Once MLB’s top prospect, ex-Yankees hopes to reignite career in Japan

Former Yankees Rougned Odor signs with a new club in Japan
Amanda Paula
Saturday January 20, 2024

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In a twist of fate, a former New York Yankees slugger, Rougned Odor, has found a new home in the realm of Japanese baseball, signing with the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) team, the Yomiuri Giants. This move follows a rollercoaster journey for Odor, who has seen shifts in his career trajectory over the past few years.

Former Yankees slugger Odor inks deal with Yomiuri Giants after a turbulent season

Making his mark with the Texas Rangers, Odor entered the major leagues in 2014, spending the initial seven years of his career with the team. At one juncture, the 29-year-old stood out as one of baseball’s premier slugging second basemen, showcasing his power by hitting 33 home runs in 2016 and following it up with an impressive 30 more in 2017. Despite a dip in performance in 2018, he rebounded with another 30 home runs in 2019.

However, since parting ways with the Rangers after the 2020 season, Odor has embarked on a journey through various teams. The 2021 season saw him donning the Yankees’ uniform, followed by a stint with the Baltimore Orioles in 2022 and a campaign with the San Diego Padres in 2023.

Despite possessing formidable power at the plate, Odor has struggled to find consistency, grappling with high strikeout rates and an inability to consistently reach base. At 29 years old, there remains a glimmer of hope for a resurgence, and a successful stint with the Yomiuri Giants in the NPB could potentially pave the way for a return to Major League Baseball.

Acknowledging Odor’s penchant for hitting home runs, observers note that his struggles in recent years have cast a shadow on his once-promising career. The move to the Yomiuri Giants offers him a fresh start, and if he can rediscover his form in the Japanese league, it might serve as a springboard for a comeback in the Major Leagues.

Reflecting on his decade-long career, Odor boasts an impressive record, having slugged 178 home runs and driven in 568 runs. These statistics underscore his potential and the impact he could have on a team’s offense if he manages to overcome his recent challenges. The Yomiuri Giants, a prominent team in NPB, provide Odor with a solid opportunity to revitalize his career and showcase his capabilities on an international stage.

As Odor ventures into this new chapter with the Yomiuri Giants, baseball enthusiasts and analysts alike are hopeful that he can overcome the hurdles that have hindered his recent performances. A successful stint in Japan could not only rejuvenate his career but also open the door for a triumphant return to the Major Leagues. Time will tell whether this move to the NPB becomes the catalyst for Rougned Odor’s resurgence in the world of professional baseball.

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