Yankees sign Carlos Rodón for six years, $162 million, report says

The Yankees have agreed to a six-year contract worth $162 million with left-hander Carlos Rodón, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. The team has yet to confirm the signing. Rodón was the best free agent starter still on the market after Jacob deGrom signed a five-year contract with the Texas Rangers and Justin Verlander is heading to Queens on a two-year contract with the Mets.

Rodón, who turned 30 in early December, had a career year with the San Francisco Giants in 2022. He made a career-high 31 starts and threw a career-high 178 innings, and during those 178 innings, he struck out 237 and posted a 2.88 ERA. Rodón held opposing batters to a stellar .202/.263/.308 batting line and finished sixth in National League Cy Young voting.

Our RJ Anderson rated Rodón the eighth best free agent available this offseason, and the third best pitcher behind deGrom and Verlander. Here is his wording:

Rodón is a living testament to some of the game’s recent philosophical changes. Beginners need a reliable third pitch? Pfft, that’s the old religion. These days, Rodón throws his fastball and slider more than 90% of the time combined and it’s not just allowed, it’s encouraged. His mid-90s heater had the second-highest whiff rate (min. 1,000 pitched) in the majors last season behind Gerrit Cole, a byproduct of his speed and upward movement, as well as the hard angle created by its release point. It’s easy to think of Rodón’s formula as “fastballs high early, sliders buried late,” but that’s not the case. He’s thrown his fastball more in two-strike count than his slider over the past two seasons, and it’s reasonable to bet on him to extend that streak. His injury history and performance record limited him to a short-term contract last winter. Rodón looks much more likely to get a long-term deal this offseason.

As good as Rodón was in 2022, he is not without risk. Multiple arm injuries, including shoulder issues and Tommy John surgery, limited him to 232 1/3 innings from 2017 to 2020. He was an All-Star with the Chicago White Sox in 2021 , although more shoulder problems hampered him late in the season and in the playoffs. The 2022 season was Rodón’s first fully healthy season in half a decade.

Rodón may have some injury issues, but most pitchers do these days, and very few come with his upside. He’s pitched at an ace level the past two seasons and is in the prime of his career. As long as he stays on the pitch, there’s little reason to think that Rodón won’t make a difference in the next few years.

With Rodón, the Yankees rotation looks like this:

It’s possible the Yankees will split left-handers early in the season, but the order isn’t of great importance. It’s the five with right-handers Domíngo Germán and Clarke Schmidt who provide depth.

The Yankees traded left-hander Jordan Montgomery before the deadline last season and Jameson Taillon left via free agency. Rodón arrives and they hope for a full season from Severino. Moving from Taillon – an average league starter by ERA+ – to Rodón should be a decent size upgrade.

The Yankees won 99 games and the AL East last season, but weren’t as good in the second half as they were in the first, then were swept in the ALCS by the Astros. They brought back free agents Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge, the latter in a mega-deal, but they were still looking for outside improvements. Rodón provides just that.

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