Thursday evening, the Yankees signed left-handed starter Carlos Rodón to a six-year, $162 million contract. The veteran celebrated his 30th birthday just a few days ago, and is coming off of two consecutive excellent seasons. He always had potential, but battled injuries in the early part of his career, and finally burst through in the 2021 season, quieting any doubts about his talent. The deal seems like a very solid one for New York, especially in the current market, and one that helps solidify a top of the line rotation.
Rodón now joins a group of Yankees with expensive and lengthy contracts, including Aaron Judge in this same offseason. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and relatively speaking $27 million per year over six years seems like a fair deal for club and player. The picture will become even clearer once the details of the contract become public, but on the surface this seems like a real win.
The lefty seemed to openly be the Yankees priority this offseason post-Aaron Judge signing, but there was rumored to be some negotiating distance between the team and Rodón. Evidently, that gap closed, with the finishing point looking closer to the Yankees’ side of things. The Orioles, Red Sox, Twins, Dodgers, and Cardinals were also linked to him, with the Yankees being the favorite and ultimately the winner of the sweepstakes. Rodón and company were rumored to want a seventh year, but it is probably safe to assume no one was willing to go that far for the lefty.
What this does for the Yankees is, well, it makes them a much better team. I feel confident now saying that Rodón makes this the best starting rotation in the sport. Gerrit Cole, Rodón, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, and Frankie Montas, that is really good, and I don’t think any team matches that right now. The fifth guy on that list is very talented and finished sixth in Cy Young voting just last season.
The move likely bumps Domingo Germán off the back of the rotation, which is probably a good thing. Not only is Rodón a massive upgrade to the starting rotation, just creates depth elsewhere. Moving Germán or whoever else adds more juice to the bullpen, and gives the team some more options when they inevitably get banged up.
Rodón pretty comfortably slides into the number two spot in this Yankees rotation, and he would be among the best in baseball to occupy that spot. He had a 2.88 ERA and 2.25 FIP over 178 innings, during which he struck out over a third of opposing batters. Moreover, the Yankees now have a terrifying top-two to throw at opposing teams in the playoffs, should Rodón, and Cole, stay healthy into October.
This offseason has gone about as well as once could’ve expected for the Yanks. With Judge re-signing as the team’s rock, they now have also secured one of the best starters on the market. In an offseason where some other 30-year-old (position players) are getting 11-year deals, getting Rodón, one of the most talented pitchers on the market who’s also much younger than the likes of Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander, for six at $27 million per seems like a smart play for New York.
The offseason is not over, and there can always be more work to do, but the Yankees got their guys. They re-signed their star and the best player in free agency, and have now added one of the three best starters available. On what seems to be a reasonable deal, the Yankees have turned what was a strength last year into the most talented rotation in baseball in 2023.