I'm All In On Rodon
by Paul Semendinger
December 11, 2022
Yesterday was Carlos Rodon's 30th birthday. It would have been nice if his big gift was a contract from the New York Yankees.
It wasn't to be, but today is another day - and maybe the big birthday gift can be just one day delayed.
I am a firm believer that the best Yankees teams feature quality left-handed starting pitching. Carlos Rodon is a lefty - and a very good one at that.
I am often leery of players who have career years just before they head to free agency, but that isn't the case with Rodon. He has now had two solid seasons consecutively.
In 2021, Rodon went 13-5, 2.37 for the White Sox. He then signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants and in 2022, he went 14-8, 2.88.
You know, I like those numbers. Over the last two seasons, Rodon has pitched to a combined 27-13 record with a nifty 2.67 ERA. Further, his WHIP (a stat I pay close attention to for pitchers) over that span is 0.998 meaning he allows just under one base runner per inning pitched. Impressive! Further, he strikes out 12.2 batters per nine innings.
What I also like about Rodon is that after coming back from injuries, he's been able to log a good amount of innings. Her threw 178 innings last year. That is a solid baseline. It's not a stretch to see him getting close to 190 or 200 innings pitched in 2023.
Put that all together and what do you have? A pitcher who wins, allows few base runners, strikes out a bunch of guys, and limits the other team from scoring. He's also a left-handed pitcher who would be pitching in Yankee Stadium. Yeah. What's there not to like?
The Yankees have one other lefty, Nestor Cortes. Nifty Nestor has been a revelation for the Yankees, and at times,. he's been called the Yankees' ace.
Here's a quick comparison of the two pitchers over the last two seasons:
Rodon - 310.2
Cortes - 251.1
Rodon - 27-13
Cortes - 14-7
Rodon - 2.67
Cortes - 2.61
Rodon - 0.998
Cortes - 0.979
Rodon - 12.2
Cortes - 9.5
In short, if one is to believe in Nestor Cortes, there's no reason to also not believe in Carlos Rodon.
If the Yankees acquire Rodon, I see him slotting in as the team's number two starter.
How's this for a starting rotation (with projected stats for 2023 via Baseball-Reference)?
Gerrit Cole: 13-8, 3.47 (179 innings)
Carlos Rodon: 12-8. 3.06 (162 innings)
Luis Severino: 7-4, 3.45 (107 innings)
Nestor Cortes: 8-5, 3.02 (143 innings)
Frankie Montas: 8-10, 3.81 (151 innings)
To my eye, it seems like Baseball-Reference's numbers fall a bit short of what I would expect in regard to the innings. I see each of those pitchers being able to increase those projected innings by about 10% (at least). With that projection, the innings look come as follows:
Rodon - 178
Severino - 117 (but if he's healthy, and he'll be pitching for a new contract, I can see him exceeding 130 innings)
Cortes - 157
Montas - 165
That would be a very reliable and strong starting rotation.
What I like even more is that the projections all have the pitchers with sub-4.00 earned run averages. When was the last time , if ever, the Yankees had five starters all throwing over 120 innings and all having sub-4.00 ERA's?
According to reports, Hal Steinbrenner gave Aaron Judge his word that he'd be spending more to build a stronger team for 2023. So far the Yankees have brought back players, but they have not improved the team.
Carlos Rodon would be a big improvement.
Further, if the Yankees starting pitchers are allowing so few runs, that would take much pressure off Oswald Peraza and any other young players who make the team to have to hit a lot. For their rookie seasons, they'd be able to concentrate on just making the plays in the field. It's already part of Peraza's profile that he plays exceptional defense. This also makes the Yankees stronger.
Once Rodon is signed (if he's signed), the Yankees would then be able to address the next big area - left field. If they can find a strong bat who is also a capable defender, my goodness(!), would they be setting up the 2023 team for success!
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Get the best available pitcher, Carlos Rodon, and then take the next big step forward.