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 not yet confirmed the signing. Rodón was the top free agent starter still on the market after Jacob deGrom signed a five-year contract with the Texas Rangers and Justin Verlander headed to Queens on a two-year deal 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, striking out 237 batters and posting a 2.88 ERA. Rodón held opposing hitters to a stellar .202/.263/.308 batting line and finished sixth in the National League Cy Young voting.
Our R.J. Anderson ranked Rodón the eighth best free agent available this offseason, and the third best pitcher behind deGrom and Verlander. Here's his write-up:
Rodón is a living testament to some of the game's recent philosophical shifts. Starters needing a reliable third pitch? Pff, that's the old religion. These days, Rodón chucks his fastball and slider more than 90 percent of the time combined and it isn't just allowed, it's encouraged. His mid-90s heater had the second-highest whiff rate (min. 1,000 thrown) in the majors last season behind Gerrit Cole, a byproduct of its velocity and rising movement, as well as the tough angle created by his release point. It's easy to think of Rodón's formula as being "elevated fastballs early, buried sliders late," but that's not the case. He's thrown his fastball more in two-strike counts than his slider the last two seasons, and it's reasonable to bet on him extending that streak. His injury history and lacking performance track record limited him to a short-term deal last winter. Rodón seems far 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 trouble and Tommy John surgery, limited him to 232 1/3 innings from 2017-20. He was an All-Star with the Chicago White Sox in 2021, though more shoulder trouble hampered him late in the season and in the postseason. The 2022 season was Rodón's first fully healthy season in a half-decade.
Rodón may come with injury concerns, but that is true of most pitchers these days, and very few come with his upside. He has pitched at an ace level the last two seasons and is right smack in the prime of his career. As long as he stays on the field, there's little reason to think Rodón won't be a difference-making starter the next several years.
With Rodón, the Yankees' rotation looks something like this:
- RHP Gerrit Cole
- LHP Carlos Rodón
- LHP Nestor Cortes
- RHP Luis Severino
- RHP Frankie Montas
It's possible the Yankees split up the left-handers when the season begins, but the order isn't of great importance. Those are the five with right-handers Domíngo Germán and Clarke Schmidt providing depth.
The Yankees traded lefty Jordan Montgomery in front of the deadline last season and Jameson Taillon departed via free agency. In comes Rodón and they'll hope for a full season from Severino. Going from Taillon -- a league-average starter by ERA+ -- to Rodón should be a decent-sized upgrade.
The Yankees won 99 games and the AL East last season, but weren't nearly as good in the second half as the first and 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 still were looking for external improvements. Rodón provides just that.