The Carlos Rodón sweepstakes is now officially over, as the star left-handed pitcher now has a new home. Rodón has reportedly signed with the Yankees on a six-year deal that will pay the lefty $162 million. The deal sends one of the game’s premier pitchers to the Yankees, a win-now team that’s looking to make it back to the World Series for the first time in 14 years.
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A Look at Rodón
Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in first round of 2014 Draft, Carlos Rodón was poised to develop into an ace after dominating hitters with NC State. Rodón rose quickly from the White Sox farm system, as the lefty made his MLB debut the following season. The left-handed pitcher’s first two seasons in the Majors were solid. Rodón posted a 105 ERA+ and averaged over a batter an inning. Then, it went south for the former college standout.
Injuries kept Rodón out for much of the next four seasons. From 2017-2020, the lefty only logged 232.1 innings. Rodón stayed healthy for much of 2021, and broke out for a White Sox team that would win the AL Central. The 30-year old struck a career high 185 batters over 132.2 innings en route to an All-Star appearance, and a fifth-place finish in the 2021 AL Cy Young award vote.
Rodón signed with the Giants last offseason, and had yet another strong campaign. The 30-year old posted a gaudy 33.4% K% rate and 31.2% Whiff% rate for the Giants, the latter of which ranked sixth among all qualified, pitchers. Those results are thanks to a powerful fastball/slider combination. Rodón’s fastball, in particular, has been a big reason for his success. Prior to 2021, Rodón displayed a heater that sat in the low-90’s and wasn’t missing many bats. Now, the 30-yeard old’s fastball routinely sits in the mid-90’s and nets the lefty a Whiff% rate at around 30%.
It’s hard to find a pitcher that has accomplished what Carlos Rodón has over the past two seasons. Since the start of 2021, Rodón is second among all pitchers (min. 150 IP) in K/9 (12.2), and among the top ten in both ERA (2.67) and total strikeouts (422). Yes, health is a concern with Rodón. But it is a risk worth taking for a Yankee team looking to win it all in 2023.
What it Means
The Yankees get the second-best starter in the free agent pool, in a major pickup for the defending AL East champions. The AL East is set to be a tight one yet again, as Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore have all made pickups over the past few weeks.
New York has mainly played defense this winter, as the team’s biggest moves were the re-signings of first baseman Anthony Rizzo and star outfielder Aaron Judge. Now, the Yankees add Rodón to a rotation that already featured Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Luis Severino. Plus, the Bronx Bombers also have Domingo German and Frankie Montas, the latter of whom was acquired at the Trade Deadline from Oakland.
With Rodón in tow, the Yankees now have two of the game’s premier aces and a supporting cast that could push New York towards its first pennant since 2009.