When the Yankees brought Aaron Judge back on a nine-year, $360 million deal, it was the expected outcome. New York would have faced an enormous challenge replacing his 62-homer bat in the lineup, and that was just to retain the team that got swept by the Astros in the 2022 American League Championship Series. Further steps had to be taken to bolster the ballclub and ensure that New York could seriously challenge the defending champions for the AL pennant.
Well, owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman have landed their man. Southpaw Carlos Rodón was one of the most enticing starting pitchers on the market, and it was hard not to salivate at the idea of the two-time All-Star joining Gerrit Cole at the top of the Yankees’ rotation. That dream has come to pass to the tune of a six-year deal worth $162 million, per Jon Heyman:
Rodon to Yankees— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 16, 2022
Rodon Yankees deal: 6/162mm. Full no trade— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 16, 2022
Full credit to the front office for getting the superb lefty. The only player more connected to New York this offseason than Rodón was Judge himself.
Once the No. 3 overall pick in the MLB Draft out of NC State, Rodón did impressive work to bring himself back from the brink of irrelevance following 2019 Tommy John surgery and shoulder injured that plagued his COVID-shortened 2020. He was even non-tendered, but the White Sox re-signed him and Rodón rewarded them with his long-awaited All-Star debut. He pitched to a 2.37 ERA, 2.65 FIP, and 0.957 WHIP in 24 starts, nearly throwing a perfect game in a no-hitter against Cleveland along the way.
A free agent after the season, Rodón signed a two-year, $44 million deal with the Giants that included an opt-out in case he proved that 2021 was no one-year wonder. True to form, the southpaw excelled in San Francisco. For the second consecutive year, he earned down-ballot Cy Young votes, and he reached a career-high in starts (31) and innings (178), led the majors with a 2.25 FIP and 12.0 K/9, and also twirled a 2.88 ERA and 1.028 WHIP. The Giants slumped in 2022, but Rodón was not the reason.
Now with a pair of All-Star seasons behind him, Rodón was going to get paid after inevitably choosing to return to free agency. He just turned 30, but the Yankees are gambling pure cash (which they have in droves) that he can keep the good vibes of the past couple years going. He nicely slots in alongside Cole at the top of the rotation, and with both Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino behind them, the Yankees have a fearsome front four. This is a win-now team that appears to be embracing the challenge.
We’ll have more to come, but in the meantime, welcome to New York, Carlos!