Should the Yankees be apprehensive about chasing Carlos Rodón?

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 12: Starting pitcher Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 12: Starting pitcher Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees will need to come out with a fantastic free agency strategy whenever the lockout is resolved, as they already missed their chance to land some of the biggest bats on the market in Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. But they also need pitching, having missed out on Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. If they’re still keen on improving that area of the roster, they might try pilfering Carlos Rodón away from the Chicago White Sox.

Rodón was unhittable (literally) at times for the White Sox last year. His no-hitter may have been the highlight of his season, but he was a legitimate Cy Young contender for some time. The left-hander went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA while striking out more than a batter per inning.

After struggling with major arm injuries and inconsistency, Rodón was one of the feel-good stories of the 2021 campaign. Now that he’s on the open market, a Yankees team that needs to make some veteran additions to supplement Gerrit Cole in the rotation could be very interested in bringing the burly lefty aboard.

The Yankees know how well Rodón can pitch when he gets into a groove, as he picked up 13 strikeouts in six scoreless innings at Yankee Stadium in May. However, there are some problems with signing him that could make it difficult for Brian Cashman to fork over more money than he’s comfortable with.

Should the Yankees sign former White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodón?

While Rodón’s All-Star season after some genuinely debilitating injuries was inspirational, the Yankees can’t overlook his history in free agency. He’s still never started more than 28 games or topped 165 innings in a season. From 2017-2020, Rodón started just 41 games in total.

With a pitcher that throws almost 60% fastballs, will arm health and velocity become a bigger concern in the future, especially after he missed time in 2021 with both arm and shoulder fatigue?

Then again, Rodón had a 183 ERA+, one of the best marks in both the American League and all of baseball, during his magical 2021. Before this year, Rodón had a 4.14 ERA and a 100 ERA+, making him as average a starter as possible. The veteran may just be a one-year flash in the pan, which doesn’t make him worthy of being a No. 2 behind Cole.

Looking at the bigger picture, he figures to be a solid option for the middle of the rotation, but we could list dozens of pitchers with injury concerns that cashed in after breakout seasons and failed to produce at that level again (or consistently). Unfortunately, Rodón feels like one of those waiting to happen.

The Yankees shouldn’t completely throw their pursuit of Rodón in the garbage. After all, he was a deserving All-Star last season. However, Cashman spending more money than he needs to in hopes of Rodón turning into a No. 2 isn’t the recommended way for this team to spend their limited finances.