By Derek McAdam
December 16, 2022
The Yankees are looking to bolster their starting rotation by bringing in Carlos Rodon, a southpaw who has spent most of his career playing for the White Sox, while spending the previous season in San Francisco.
Rodon is likely seen as a replacement, and potential upgrade, to Jameson Taillon, who signed a four-year contract with the Chicago Cubs. He gives the Yankees another left-handed starting option in addition to Nestor Cortes, Jr., while also being the potential No. 2 starter.
Here are a few reasons why the Yankees should have stayed away from Rodon.
First, let’s look at the previous long-term contracts for pitchers that the Yankees have made bids for, or actually been successful in signing. Patrick Corbin was a starter the Yankees had inquired about before the 2019 season. While Corbin had one good season for the Nationals in his inaugural season, he has been a disaster over the past three seasons. The Nationals still have Corbin on the books for another two seasons.
While Gerrit Cole has had some great moments with the Yankees, he has gotten progressively worse as his tenure with the Yankees continues. He gave up a career-high 33 home runs in 2022 and was not the ace the squad needed him to be throughout the season, especially considering the $36 million he is being paid annually. The Yankees still have another six seasons of Cole on the books, and no, he is not going to opt-out after the 2024 season.
The list can go on, even with pitchers that the Yankees did not have an interest in, including David Price, Zach Greinke, and Stephen Strasburg. One of the few contracts over $200 million for a pitcher that may have actually worked out was Max Scherzer’s tenure with the Washington Nationals. Clayton Kershaw also had some solid years with the Dodgers during his $215 million contract, but also had some injury concerns.
As for Rodon, he is coming off two consecutive seasons of having a sub-3.00 ERA, one of which was in Chicago while the other was in San Francisco. Rodon’s 2021 ERA was 2.37, but he only made 24 starts compared to his 31 last season, where the ERA spiked a little to 2.88. Either way, there may be some legitimate concerns.
San Francisco is known for being a pitcher-friendly ballpark and while Rodon likely took advantage of that park, Yankee Stadium is completely different. Yankee Stadium is a hitter-friendly ballpark, especially for left-handed batters. While Rodon might be able to limit some of the left-handed power in the Bronx, since he is a left-hander, he’s going from one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks to one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks. This may explain why Sonny Gray and Frankie Montas, both of whom came from Oakland, have not had success in the Bronx.
While the Yankees need a starter that can help get them deep in the playoffs, Rodon is not the answer. This team is not necessarily close to winning a World Series, and while Rodon could help their odds of getting there, there are still plenty of other areas the Yankees must first address.