The Yankees could use a bulldog behind Gerrit Cole in their rotation, a need that has persisted ever since (checks notes) they signed Gerrit Cole in 2019.
Could Carlos Rodón bring the attitude and be that guy, as opposed to just being a guy? His stuff didn't regress much in 2023, but a chronic back issue threw off his torque and resulted in poor location, mood swings, and kisses blown to the crowd. If Rodón's full offseason of training gets him in a better space -- both mentally and physically -- the data indicates he'll be poised for a bounce back.
One player who once filled those "Yankees bulldog" shoes rather unsuccessfully tends to agree. Lance Lynn, on the heels of his return to the Cardinals, appeared on Foul Territory Thursday. In a wide-ranging interview, he touched on Rodón, his former White Sox teammate, and expressed belief that he'd be able to figure things out -- and quickly -- in the Bronx.
Former Yankees starter Lance Lynn believes in the Carlos Rodón fit in New York
From a "competitive" standpoint, it certainly is hard to outmuscle Rodón. The fire he breathed after seemingly every inning-ending "escape" strikeout in San Francisco represented the exact right fit for the Yankees' rotation last season. One of the greatest tragedies of last year's Yankees season was that Brian Cashman listened. He went out and got a guy who brought the intensity this roster often lacked, and certainly struggled to conjure in several season-ending playoff series with the Astros. We just ... never got to see it. A different pitcher arrived last winter than the one who was signed, an affliction that seems to strike the Yankees routinely (especially when big money or trade capital is involved).
"Knowing Carlos and knowing when Carlos is in a good headspace ... we all know that New York is a different beast, and you see a lot of guys take that next step Year 2 when you get there," Lynn assured, arguing against last year's "snowballing" continuing once again.
Rodón has done his part, showing up to spring training earlier than requested. Now, it's time for him to fulfill the Year 2 destiny that Lynn never got a chance to live out in the Bronx.