This past offseason, the New York Yankees seemed to reinvigorate their fanbase by re-signing Aaron Judge to a nine-year, $360 million deal and then adding Carlos Rodón to a six-year, $162 million contract. The early returns? Bad. Judge has missed 46 games with hip and toe injuries, while Rodón missed the first three months of the year with mysterious ailments.
But you know they had to sign Judge. His "injury history" aside, he is the Yankees. There was no way Hal Steinbrenner could justify letting him go. As for Rodón, the collective loved that signing, too. He was coming off a career-best season and represented an over-the-top luxury in the starting rotation behind Gerrit Cole -- the kinds of purchases this organization should be making more often.
Before diving in on Rodón, though, the Yankees were in talks with Nathan Eovaldi, who eventually landed with the Texas Rangers. The former Yankee, who ended up killing the Yankees as a member of the Red Sox, realized the talks were dead after New York landed Rodón.
Eovaldi ended up in Texas on a two-year, $34 million contract. So far this season, the 2023 All-Star is 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 1.02 WHIP and 109 strikeouts in 18 starts (117.2 innings). That's a fraction of the price for Rodón and nine times the production.
Now, are we sitting here saying that the Yankees should've signed Eovaldi over Rodón? No chance. But this just goes to show even when the front office opts to take a leap of faith, spend the extra money, and go for the jugular, the bargain bin option prevails. And whenever they go for the bargain bin option and pass on the big-money/blockbuster acquisition, the former tanks and the latter excels.
Yankees somehow got burned choosing Carlos Rodón over Nathan Eovaldi
The latest from MLB insider Jon Heyman, tucked into a recent column, has Yankees fans reeling:
"Rangers All-Star SP Nate Eovaldi said he had serious talked with the Yankees that ended when they signed Carlos Rodon, but he’s thrilled to be home in Texas with a clear contender. The Angels, Red Sox and Padres were among others in on him."- Jon Heyman, NY Post
Rodón has made two starts this season after battling forearm and back issues. He's 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA, 5.41 FIP and 1.16 WHIP in just 10.1 innings of work. He's still working out the kinks, but the early returns mark another pain point for fans who just want one signing/trade to work out in their favor.
Had the Yankees simply been able to better cultivate Eovaldi and not release him after he suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery back in 2016, perhaps things could've been a lot different for everybody.
But in classic fashion, he went to a division rival in the Rays where he got back on track, then was traded to the Red Sox where he wiped the floor with New York from 2018-2022. Then he got paid for a second time with the Rangers, who are now a top contender in the AL -- all the while the Yankees keep trying to figure out how to not lose baseball games in disastrous/embarrassing fashion with a $280 million payroll.