Yankees’ $162 million pitcher eyeing big bounce-back season

mlb: new york yankees at kansas city royals, carlos rodon
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees spent $162 million over six years to acquire Carlos Rodon in free agency last offseason. This offseason, they’ve been hesitant to make another expensive addition despite offering $300 million to Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Japanese star ended up signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, so the Yankees now have to pick up the pieces and find a more efficient approach, and it doesn’t end with Marcus Stroman’s $37 million deal over two years.

Yankees Navigating the Offseason Market

General manager Brian Cashman has been actively trying to acquire a pitcher on the trade market, having recently been involved in negotiations for Corbin Burnes prior to the Baltimore Orioles landing him.

However, the Yankees are betting big on Rodon to bounce back in 2024, a lefty who is now 31 years old and coming off his worst professional season in 2023.

“I just feel like I got some stuff to prove and I want to stay on the field a lot longer than I did last year,” Rodon said Monday morning.

Rodon’s Challenges and Expectations

Rodon hosted a 6.85 ERA and 5.79 FIP over just 64.1 innings last season. His strikeouts per nine dropped from 12 in 2022 to just 8.95. His left-on-base percentage plummeted 15% to 60.5%, and he even recorded the lowest ground ball percentage in his career at 27.1%.

Everything about Rodon’s efficiency and productiveness took a turn for the worse in 2023, and the law of averages would suggest he turns a page and experiences better performance this upcoming campaign.

Rodon wants to reward the Yankees for investing a lot of money in his services, and they’ve been working diligently to prepare him for the upcoming season, starting his throwing program a bit earlier than spring training.

Preparing for a Comeback

“When they invest a lot of money in you, they definitely invest a lot of time and contact with you,” he said. “So it was good. We had a good plan. Started throwing pretty early. Started moving in the weight room pretty early. A lot earlier than normal. So I’ve been throwing a lot, just trying to stay ready.”

The Yankees are prepared to report pitchers and catchers this week with baseball starting to ramp up, and while the rotation certainly has a few concerns, a bounceback from Rodon would silence many of the doubters.