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Orioles reach one-year deal with free-agent infielder Rougned Odor

The Orioles late Tuesday announced a one-year deal with free-agent infielder Rougned Odor, giving them an experienced middle infielder at the league minimum for the 2022 season.

Odor provides the Orioles a veteran presence on a very young infield at a cut-rate price, as he’s still owed more than $12 million for the final year of the six-year contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in 2016 and thus will only make the minimum from the Orioles.

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Odor, 27, was a mainstay for the Texas Rangers from the time of his debut in 2014 at age 20 until he joined the New York Yankees this spring. Primarily a second baseman, Odor’s offensive impact has waned of late — his last above-average offensive season was 2016, though he brought value with his defense in the years after that.

New York released Odor earlier this month, and the Orioles saw an opportunity to add to their infield mix without much risk.

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A career .234 hitter with a lifetime .722 OPS, Odor had a .665 OPS and 15 home runs last season in 102 games with New York. He has a long track record of consistent hard contact when he connects, but also strikes out often and doesn’t have a ton to show for that hard contact.

Odor played 33 games at second base in 2021, his first appearance there. Adding him would provide a veteran presence at two positions where the Orioles have little, with Ramón Urías, Jorge Mateo, Jahmai Jones and Kelvin Gutiérrez their main depth between second and third base.

While the Orioles haven’t been major players in free agency during their rebuild, Odor joins a long list of experienced infielders whose careers have taken them through Camden Yards in recent years.

José Iglesias was signed ahead of the 2020 season to play shortstop after Jonathan Villar was traded, and was among the team’s most productive players. Once he was dealt last December, the Orioles signed Freddy Galvis to play shortstop and got three solid months out of him before a quadriceps injury. Galvis was then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on July 31.

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