ARLINGTON -- Rougned Odor will be pestering American League foes in a Texas uniform through 2022, and the Rangers couldn't be happier.
The team held a news conference Thursday to announce a six-year, $49.5 million contract extension for Odor, who turned 23 in February and is coming off a 2016 season in which he hit .271 with 33 home runs and 88 RBIs. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus and a $13.5 million option for 2023, or a $2 million buyout.
But perhaps the most unique terms of the contract? Two horses.
"I'm the last person to ask about that," Rangers general manager and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels joked, when asked what kind of horses the team was purchasing for their infielder. "A white one and a brown one."
"Quarter horses," Odor piped in with a smile.
The oddity arose when the team owners suggested to Daniels that Odor's passion for horses might make for a unique negotiating chip. The young Venezuelan is planning on buying land in Texas, and the ownership team thought maybe a couple of horses might be a good ranch-warming gift.
"It's our policy when we make a contract offer, we copy the player on it," Daniels said. "So Rougie has these big numbers in front of him, and he has a poker face. Nothing changed. Then I slid my phone across with a picture of the horses on it, and he said, 'Hey, can you send that to me?' His eyes lit up, and I thought, 'All right, maybe we have a chance.'"
"I have a passion for horses," Odor said. "I love horses. It's one of my hobbies, being around the horses."
Odor long ago endeared himself to his Texas audience, but it's going to be hard to argue against this being one more reason for the Lone Star State to cheer on the slugging second baseman.
"I always try to be the kind of guy that works hard," Odor said. "That's how my family taught me to be. I remember my Dad and Grandpa always told me, 'You always have to work hard, no matter what. Some days you're going to feel bad, some days something's going to hurt in your body. But you have to learn how to play hard and be yourself. Don't let anybody change you. Work hard all the time.'"
Odor was emotional at times behind the podium as he reflected on the difference that this would make on his personal life, as he is planning on bringing his parents and teenage sister to the United States. With Venezuela in a state of unrest, the ability to have his family close means a lot to Odor.
"It's good to be around family every day," he said. "You know, it's a little hard when we play here and our family is in another country. You just see your family for a couple months in the offseason, or maybe they come during the season for a couple weeks. But bringing my family here is very important to me."