Yankees preparing to get $162 million pitcher back: ‘I feel ready’

carlos rodon, yankees
Feb 22, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) during photo day at George M. Steinbrenner Field Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Amid a desperate need for more offensive support, particularly in the outfield, the New York Yankees also eagerly await the return of a star pitcher to their rotation.

Rodon’s Progress Towards Recovery

While many are keen for Aaron Judge’s return to the Yankees, the team’s focus is also on Carlos Rodon, the $162 million free agent acquisition. Following his second successful rehab assignment this past Sunday, where he pitched four scoreless innings and struck out four batters, Rodon is poised to make his highly-anticipated return.

Fortunately, Rodon’s chronic back injury, diagnosed several weeks ago, appears to be under control. With the aid of several injections to alleviate pain and stiffness, the Yankees expect their star pitcher back in action for the season’s second half, particularly with the All-Star break coming up shortly.

“I feel like that was pretty close to normal. I feel ready. That’s a decision we have to talk about, where I fall into the rotation and where they schedule it,” stated Rodon.

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Reviewing Rodon’s Performance

At 30 years old, Rodon, who signed a six-year deal, faced early contract injury concerns. Despite this, he boasts a record of two consecutive dominant seasons. He posted a 2.37 ERA in 2021 with the Chicago White Sox and a 2.88 ERA in 2022 with the San Francisco Giants. His career-high 178 innings pitched last season included 12 strikeouts per nine with a 75.1% left-on-base rate, 34.1% ground ball rate, and a career-low 6.5% HR/FB ratio.

If the Yankees’ offense regains its form and Rodon returns to his usual high level of performance, the Yankees could feature one of the most formidable duos atop their rotation, alongside Gerrit Cole.

Balancing Health and Performance

While health recovery is the primary focus for the Yankees, the team still lacks their superstar MVP, Aaron Judge, sidelined due to a torn ligament in his right big toe.

Although there’s no guarantee of Judge returning this season, optimistic reports suggest a potential return a few weeks post the All-Star break. This timeline would provide Judge with an additional month for rehabilitation and pain management.