Yankees’ $162 million free agent signing nearing rehab assignment

carlos rodon, yankees
Mar 5, 2023; North Port, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, whose starting pitching rotation has been under significant strain, finally received some encouraging news on Sunday afternoon.

Carlos Rodon, their $162 million free agent acquisition, is finally poised to begin a rehab assignment after recovering from multiple injuries.

Rodon endured a severe left forearm strain during spring training, which later compounded with a diagnosis of a chronic back injury, placing his participation in the 2023 season at risk. However, after receiving a cortisone shot, Rodon managed to alleviate the pain, enabling him to proceed more efficiently with his throwing program.

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The Yankees are hoping to get Carlos Roson back soon:

According to Manager Aaron Boone, Rodon has one more bullpen session planned before initiating his rehab assignment, potentially starting after the coming week.

Considering both Nestor Cortes’ placement on the injured list and the likelihood of Frankie Montas missing the entire season, the Yankees urgently require the significant contribution their high-profile free agent signing can bring, even if it materializes in the second half of the year.

Now at 30 years of age, Rodon inked a six-year deal following two consecutive standout seasons. He boasted a 2.37 ERA in 2021 with the Chicago White Sox and a 2.89 ERA the following year with San Francisco. His statistics include an impressive 11.98 strikeouts per nine innings, a 75.1% left-on-base rate, and a 34.1% ground ball rate.

The plan was for Rodon to join Gerrit Cole at the helm of the rotation, supplying the team with a formidable duo for the postseason.

The potential advantage of having two premier pitchers would have significantly bolstered the Bombers’ prospects. Thus, the revelation of his chronic back issue, following a career-high 178 innings pitched in 2022, was a significant setback.

The hope is that this won’t pose a substantial problem going forward. Similar chronic issues haven’t significantly hampered first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who has managed his condition effectively over the years.

As Rodon embarks on his rehab assignment, his progress will be closely watched, given the fragility of the situation over the past few months. For now, all we can do is wait, hoping for the best.