The Yankees are getting catastrophic production from $162 million pitcher

MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
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When the New York Yankees signed Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal, they didn’t anticipate he would become one of their biggest liabilities two years into the contract. He dealt with a significant number of injuries during the 2023 season that set him back, prompting the Yankees to believe he would bounce back and offer them a far more productive version this year.

The Yankees Need So Much More From Carlos Rodon

Unfortunately, Rodon, despite a few decent individual stats, has been nothing but a liability. Over 103 innings this season, Rodon hosts a 4.63 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 9.17 strikeouts per nine, a 74.7% left-on-base rate, and a 34.1% ground ball rate. His walks aren’t concerning, but he’s giving up 1.66 home runs per nine, including a 13% HR/FB ratio.

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres, carlos rodon
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A Rough Outing Against the Rays

On Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, he gave up four runs in the first inning, courtesy of a Randy Arozarena double to left field and an Isaac Paredes three-run homer to top things off. Rodon tossed 95 pitches over just four innings, striking out five batters and walking two.

Mounting Frustration and Potential Trade Deadline Moves

The frustration has been mounting for months, and things are starting to hit rock bottom due to his inefficiency. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman may have to be aggressive at the trade deadline to find another experienced arm. This would allow them to be more flexible with how they deploy Clarke Schmidt and Cody Poteet when they both return from injury. They could help in the bullpen, allowing a new acquisition to help offset some innings in the rotation and potentially take some pressure off Rodon, who has simply caused the Yankees to lose more games.

“It has not been fun, that’s for sure,” Rodón said. “I’m just not really giving my team a chance to win, giving up runs early. I’ve just got to put up a zero in the first and try to stretch something together. I keep saying, put it behind me. I have to.”

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees, carlos rodon
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Statistical Woes and Adjustments Needed

Rodon has a tough-to-look-at 4.48 xERA and ranks in the bottom percentile in baseball in terms of barrel percentage, hard-hit rate, and ground ball percentage. In other words, batters are hitting the cover off the baseball against him, especially his fastball.

“It seems like we’re behind the barrel every time,” Rodón said. “I put the offense behind. It’s hard for them to claw back from. It’s hard for them to win games when you’re down by four, five, six, seven, eight runs early on.”

This season, Rodon has seen a 10% decrease in four-seam fastball usage, mainly because he’s allowing a .267 batting average and an unbelievably high .545 slugging rate. He needs to be using his slider more prominently and even include his change-up as a key pitch, which he only throws 11.5% of the time.

Yankees Need More Confidence From Their $162 Million Man

There is a path forward for Rodon to recover what he’s lost—competency, but first and foremost, he needs to reset his confidence, and the All-Star break should give him a week to mull things over and hopefully put the first half of the season behind him.

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