Texas Rangers Player Receives 2 Horses in Contract Extension

Also $49.5 million, but who’s counting?

We always appreciate when a major-league athlete has a love for horses on the side — after all, the only way to make a small fortune in horses is to start with a large one and no one seems to be better paid than professional athletes. More realistically, it helps bring a little spotlight to the world of horseback riding, helping the general population find common ground between the mysterious world of the horse people and the sports stars they know and love. (And we suppose it might help the less sports-inclined in the horse world pick up a little interest in ball games too.)

In recent years, there’s been a deepening connection between baseball and horseback riding — Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner missed FanFest last February due to the need to make repairs on his horse trailer on a 30-hour cross-country drive from his home in North Carolina, and Mets players Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard actually rode horses to a day of spring training last March in Florida.

The latest horse lover turned baseball player (or should that be the other way around? We’re not sure) is Rougned Odor, second baseman of the Texas Rangers. Negotiations for the player’s contract extension had reached an impasse, with the Rangers uninterested in offering more than $50 million while the industry “going rate” was about $3 million higher (wouldn’t it be nice?)

To sweeten the offer, Rangers managing partner Ray Davis, a Quarter Horse breeder in his spare time who had talked horses with Odor in the past, threw in a cutting-bred mare, Smokin Hancock Drift and her 2017 foal born in early March. Reportedly, Odor’s eyes lit up when he saw the photo of the horses and the deal was basically done.

Odor plans to buy a ranch in North Texas, upon which we are sure Smokin Hancock Drift and her foal will be very happy. He also plans to move his parents and younger sister to the ranch, away from their native economically-depressed and violence-riddled Venezuela.

Rougned Odor, welcome to our big equestrian family! Go riding.

[Horsing around: How two horses helped the Rangers seal a 6-year deal with Rougned Odor]

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