Newly-imported Yankees left-hander Carlos Rodón seemed like a perfect No. 2 behind Gerrit Cole the minute the team was connected to him. It almost appeared too good to be true.
Hal Steinbrenner won't really rustle up the necessary money in the wake of the Aaron Judge deal ... will he? This will be another haunting near miss that ends with Rodón screaming in the home whites at Fenway ... won't it? We'll try to recreate Rodón in the aggregate and sign a 31-year-old German leaguer with blurred vision ... won't we?
Well, it happened. In mid-December, the Yankees agreed to terms with Rodón on a six-year deal, finally importing their white whale, whom they failed to acquire at the preceding trade deadline. Immediately, he showed up and admitted the team was fulfilling his personal dream, and vowed to bring his trademark fire to playoff scenarios and snoozy May Sundays at Yankee Stadium.
Two months later, after reporting to spring training in Tampa, it's clear Rodón's readiness level hasn't changed one bit. Bring on the regular season.
Yankees starter Carlos Rodón is perfectly built to win over fans in the Bronx
Didn't need to hear him say it to know it's true. He exudes "compete."
That's why this move was so essential -- and why some Yankee fans felt the need to chip in.
Prior to Rodón signing with the team, back when it was just a rumor that seemed too good to be true, fans swarmed the left-hander's Venmo account on his birthday (???) and spammed him with small payments meant to serve as quasi-bribes.
It was a cute idea at the time, but Rodón put out a statement in the swarm's wake making it clear he wasn't going to accept the money.
So where did it go? Turns out, Rodón and his cousin used the cash to make a 15-year-old boy's holiday very special, which he also confessed on Thursday.
And you thought this story couldn't get any better.
Rodón tossed in Yankee gear for the first time as a member of the Bombers on Wednesday afternoon -- though, based on the pre-draft video of him singing Frank Sinatra's theme from "New York, New York" that emerged a few months back, it probably wasn't the first time he chucked a baseball with the interlocking NY on.
This team's rotation depth will be tested, but Plans A, B and C should involve keeping Cole and Rodón as ready and raring as possible atop the unit. Without those two feeding off one another, this team's ceiling gets significantly capped.
The left-hander was a perfect Yankees addition. Now that their target has been secured, it's all about maintenance, which will ideally lead to dominance.