Yankees are ‘in’ on 2 elite free agent pitchers

carlos rodon, yankees, giants

The New York Yankees might have their focus on Aaron Judge’s mega-extension, but they are also reportedly intrigued by two elite starting pitchers on the free agent market. Judge’s contract will undoubtedly come first and foremost, but general manager Brian Cashman is doing heavy due diligence on Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon.

Yankees are in on Rodon and Verlander (close Gerrit Cole relationship doesn’t hurt but NYY isn’t necessarily optimistic there). Not as much in on deGrom for what he seeks — $40M plus. Judge remains the main guy but seems to be room to add a big starter, too.

Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post

What Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon would bring to the Yankees:

The interesting nature between Verlander and Rodon is they present two entirely different options. Verlander is a 39-year-old who just won a Cy Young award coming off Tommy John surgery. He’s looking for a three-year deal worth around $130 million, but that number is likely to decrease given his age.

However, hosting a 1.75 ERA and 9.51 strikeouts per nine certainly justifies a big contract after signing a two-year, $50 million deal last season with the Houston Astors. Clearly, he opted out of the second year, looking for more money and commitment.

There’s no question the Yankees would have one of the best starting rotations in the game featuring Verlander and Gerrit Cole as their No. 1 and No. 2.

Nonetheless, the polar opposite of Verlander is Rodon, who is looking for a big contract extension for 5-7 years. Some have Rodon pegged around five years, averaging $28 million per season, well below the deal that Verlander is seeking.

Rodon is just as electric, though, considering he’s ten years younger and coming off another fantastic season. Over 178 innings with the San Francisco Giants, Rodon hosted a 2.88 ERA, 2.91 xFIP, 11.98 strikeouts per nine, and a 75.1% left-on-base rate. He now has sub-3.00 ERAs in two consecutive seasons, pitching over 130 innings in both. As a postseason pitcher, he doesn’t have much experience, but the Yankees won’t be too concerned about that.

Rodon utilizes a 4-seam fastball and slider combination. His fastball generated a .213 average against with a 28% whiff rate this past season, whereas his slider produced a .193 average with a 39% whiff rate. Overall, he has impeccable stuff and would be a phenomenal grab for the Yankees, who would essentially be replacing Jameson Taillon with one of the top pitchers on the market.

The question is, will Cashman wait until Aaron Judge’s deal is out of the way, or are they willing to be aggressive beforehand?

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