What does Carlos Rodón’s new jersey number mean for Domingo Germán?

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 12: Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after getting the third out in the first inning during Game Four of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros on October 12, 2021 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - OCTOBER 12: Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after getting the third out in the first inning during Game Four of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros on October 12, 2021 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

When Carlos Rodón switched sides from the Chicago White Sox to the San Francisco Giants last winter, he swapped his familiar No. 55 for No. 16 in deference to former Giants ace Tim Lincecum. For now, the number remains unofficially retired by the Bay. Hopefully, that move becomes official soon.

At the end of the 2022 season, though, Rodón moved on once more, joining the New York Yankees on a six-year contract and reopening the jersey number conversation.

After all, No. 16 is taken here — permanently — in honor of the Chairman of the Board, Whitey Ford. And it wouldn’t be above board for Rodón to enter his new home and take No. 55 back, considering it’s been on the back of Domingo Germán for four full years.

That’s where this gets interesting.

Just before Rodón’s introductory press conference on Thursday morning, word leaked that the left-hander would be rocking 55 in pinstripes. Did he work out a deal with Germán? Did Germán not particularly care about his number? Or is the right-hander, often embroiled in trade rumors, on the way out this winter?

Yankees left-hander Carlos Rodón will wear Domingo German’s jersey No. 55

In order to officially add Rodón and reliever Tommy Kahnle to the 40-man roster, the Yankees had to shed some incumbent members of the team. For Rodón, they removed Junior Fernández, a recently-signed wild card reliever, and for Kahnle, they made the more difficult decision of ending Lucas Luetge’s expectation-surpassing two-year Yankee career.

More names will have to be moved before any more bullpen targets/left fielders can be acquired, though, and it’s more likely than not the Yankees eventually make moves in the trade market (though Brian Cashman complained quite loudly through his teeth about the price on Wednesday at Judge’s presser).

Sure, eventual corresponding moves could include more recently-added 40-man names losing their spots, but the team went out of their way to protect Jimmy Cordero, Matt Krook, and Jhony Brito in recent weeks for a reason. Odds are still quite high that a few established Yankees, like Germán, Clarke Schmidt, Gleyber Torres, and — maybe, just maybe — Josh Donaldson are dealt.

Germán losing his number certainly feels like a silly indicator, but it’s also fairly representative of his current tenuous standing with the team. The depth below Frankie Montas isn’t spectacular; pending the Yankees taking more flyers, it’ll be German/Schmidt/Krook/Deivi Garcia getting “sixth starter” run.

Better find a new number soon or get out, it seems.