The Yankees‘ 2024 season will be defined by the additions they make over the next few months, notably in the outfield. However, the starting rotation needs reinforcements, with Frankie Montas and Luis Severino hitting free agency and Domingo German being released. There is some optimism that Montas will sign a one-year deal with the Yankees to stick around for 2024 following a year where he rehabilitated through shoulder surgery.
However, the rotation, even if Yoshinobu Yamamoto is added, hangs in the balance. Their $162 million investment last off-season, Carlos Rodon, put together an extremely disappointing performance in his first year with the Yankees.
The Yankees Need Far Better From Carlos Rodon
Over 14 appearances, Rodon pitched just 64.1 innings, hosting a 6.85 ERA and 5.79 FIP, including 8.95 strikeouts per nine, a 60.5% left-on-base rate, and a 27.1% ground ball rate. His walk rate increased to the highest metric since 2019, and he gave up the most home runs in his career per nine innings at 2.10. The truth is, the Yankees can’t sustain another disappointing performance like this, but if Rodon bounces back and they do add Yamamoto to the mix, their rotation will be one of the best in the game — on paper.
The Yankees seemingly have a great team on paper every year, but injuries and inconsistencies plague them to a level that is unprecedented. Rodon is far from the only player to put together a disappointing 2023, as expensive veterans like Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson both struggled considerably, some more so than others.
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Is Yamamoto The Key?
It is no secret that the Yanks are excited about the idea of landing Yamamoto, who could cost $200+ million in free agency. He’s coming off of a season where he tossed 164 innings in the JPPL and over 170 innings for the third consecutive season in all competitions. He enjoyed a 1.21 ERA, giving up just 22 earned runs, two home runs and striking out 169 batters. Gerrit Cole, Rodon, and Yamamoto are all high-strikeout pitchers, which fits the team’s preference perfectly.
Nonetheless, World Series-caliber teams have three good pitchers to utilize in the postseason, and Rodon was meant to take the unit to another level. The Yankees’ overall success could hinge on his health, given they are able to upgrade the batting order in a big way.