Carlos Rodón's weak finish to spring training has Yankees fans worried for 2024

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Welp, here goes nothin'. The regular season starts in three days and the New York Yankees, ready or not, will travel to Houston to face the Astros for a four-game set. So far this spring, they have not looked great. They're 13-16, which doesn't include a near-shutout loss to a Mexican League team that featured Trevor Bauer and Robinson Canó on Sunday.

To make matters worse, Gerrit Cole is out for the first few months of the year. Aaron Judge is banged up but should be ready to go (even though that still doesn't have anybody feeling great). DJ LeMahieu probably won't be available to start the year. And the Yankees' pitching staff looks bad.

The alarm bells officially went off when Cole went down. That meant ... Carlos Rodón was next in line, and fans have long felt he isn't up for that kind of pressure just yet. And if his spring performance was any indication, he very much isn't.

After an encouraging outing last week when he logged 5.2 hitless innings (with only one walk), Rodón completed his spring with a dud on Saturday. He got rocked again, allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk in just four innings. And it took him 82 pitches to get through it.

It's just exactly what this team doesn't need, even if a few errors seemed to blemish Rodón's finish. Truth be told, they had little effect on the outcome.

Rodón was rocked from the get-go. He allowed a double, a steal of third, and a sac fly in the first frame. He then got knocked around for two more runs in the second inning. A clean third frame was encouraging, but then came the messy fourth inning.

Only 61% of his pitches were strikes, which shows he's still having some issues with his command. He's put forth only one efficient outing this preseason, which raises a potential issue with bullpen management.

  • Feb. 25 - 2 2/3 innings, 48 pitches
  • March 6 - 3 innings, 60 pitches
  • March 13 - 4 innings, 68 pitches
  • March 18, 5.2 innings, 72 pitches*
  • March 23 - 4 innings, 82 pitches

As for the pitching staff as a whole, it kind of gets worse! Luis Gil, a rookie coming off Tommy John surgery, has looked the best out of any Yankee starter, when guys like Rodón, Marcus Stroman and Nestor Cortes are supposed to be leading the charge.

Rodón taking the positive of being healthy throughout spring training is certainly the right mentality to have, but that doesn't help predict how this rotation will perform in 2024. The left-hander got his pitch count up, experienced highs and lows, and escaped spring unscathed after dealing with a myriad of issues last season.

Once again, spring training stats as a whole do not matter, but they certainly do for players with something to prove. Rodón, Cortes and Clarke Schmidt needed to ease any rotation concerns to help fan morale heading into the new season, but that just hasn't happened.

Guess we'll just have to see how the first four games go against one of our most hated rivals who always seem to beat us to a pulp. Great spot to be in.