The Yankees have lengthy since confirmed that no person is best at persistently producing profitable seasons and taking part in in October. But now, they need to be on the lookout for items to get them over the hump in the postseason and again to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
So they’ve re-signed Anthony Rizzo and to illustrate Aaron Judge is staying as nicely. Both are important strikes, but when the Yankees are all about profitable championships and particularly beating the Houston Astros today, they should add a difference-maker.
You could make the argument that they might profit most from a confirmed clutch post-season participant, like a free agent Carlos Correa because it’s that offense that is been the downside in current Octobers.
But in the event that they’re dedicated to their younger shortstop prospects, as appears to be the case, the Yankees ought to attempt to take a cue from the world champions and attempt to outpitch everyone.
They have a pleasant 1-2 in Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortesand a few dominance at the third spot in the rotation Luis Severino. Adding one other ace-like starter to that blend in October would make the Yankees as imposing as, nicely, the Astros.
In that case, there are solely three accessible pitchers who match the invoice: Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Carlos Rodon.
The first two are anticipated to value $40 million or extra a yr, and it is arduous to see the Yankees doing that after they’re already paying Cole $36 million a yr — additionally assuming they’re about to pay Judge one thing in these neighborhoods as nicely
But what about Rodon?
Rodon was wholesome and dominant from begin to end in 2022.
Yet, his harm historical past remains to be important sufficient to make any workforce assume lengthy and arduous about giving him a high-priced deal for 5 or 6 years, which is outwardly what he is in search of.
The left-hander pitched a career-high 178 innings final season, the highest whole of his profession. His final earlier injury-free season was 2016, the solely different season of his eight years in the huge leagues during which he threw greater than 139.1 innings.
Rodon underwent shoulder surgical procedure in 2017 after which Tommy John surgical procedure for his elbow in 2019 which value him just about all of the 2020 season as nicely. As a end result, he threw a complete of 111.2 innings over these three seasons, all with the Chicago White Sox.
The former no. 3 general choose in the 2014 draft out of North Carolina State was comparatively wholesome in 2021. However, he nonetheless missed a number of begins late in the season resulting from what the White Sox known as “shoulder fatigue” which brought about his fastball velocity to drop considerably. Rodon did return to make a post-season begin however solely lasted 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs.
So, though he stayed injury-free in 2022, it is nonetheless a leap of religion for any workforce to offer Rodon a long-term deal.
Rodon proved the final two seasons that when he is proper bodily, he is certainly one of the greatest pitchers in baseball.
The southpaw pitched to a 2.37 ERA over 24 begins for the White Sox in 2021, posting a 0.957 WHIP and an eye-popping 185 ERA-plus.
Then final season, after signing a short-term deal (resulting from his harm historical past) with the Giants, he went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA over 31 begins. He racked up 237 strikeouts over 278 innings, and his Okay fee of 12 per 9 innings was the greatest in the majors for a beginning pitcher.
How does he do it?
Rodon is pure energy, relying closely on his four-seam fastball that averaged 95.46 mph final season, usually beating hitters up in the zone. At a time when the pattern is pitchers throwing fewer fastballs and extra breaking stuff, Rodon threw his four-seamer 61 p.c of the time final season, holding opposing hitters to a .211 batting common with it.
“His fastball has nice carry and hitters do not catch as much as it,” one workforce exec instructed me. “They cannot cheat on it both as a result of his slider is a swing-and-miss pitch with nice depth to it. He’ll throw his curveball solely often. He’s actually a two-pitch pitcher, which is uncommon for a starter. But you can also make an argument that he is received nearly as good a fastball/slider mixture as anyone.”
It’s true, based on Brooks Baseball, Rodon’s fastball and slider accounted for barely over 92 p.c of his pitches in 2021, as he threw 5 p.c curveballs and two p.c change-ups.
What actually impresses scouts is that Rodon basically lives upstairs along with his fastball and but hardly ever will get damage with the house run ball. Last season, the truth is, he allowed 12 house runs, or a superb 0.6 per 9 innings, no small matter in Yankee Stadium.
If the Yankees need to attempt to overwhelm the opposition with pitching, including one other ace is the option to do it. But once more, I simply do not see Hal Steinbrenner paying deGrom or Verlander even on short-term offers.
Rodon will not come low cost, most likely one thing in the $25-30 million vary over 5 or 6 years. But he’s trending in the proper route injury-wise and at the age of 30, after what he did in 2021, he would possibly simply be hitting his prime.
It can be one other huge dedication, however for a workforce on the lookout for October difference-makers, Rodon is value the danger.