Despite the New York Yankees passing on the top left field free agents on the market and letting a few of their own walk this off-season, they did acquire one big-name player to bolster the starting rotation.
Adding lefty Carlos Rodon to the mix should provide a significant return, especially coming off another dominant season in 2022. At 30 years old, Rodon enjoyed a 2.88 ERA, 2.91 xFIP, 12 strikeouts per nine, 75.1% left on base rate, and 34.1% ground ball rate across 178 innings. This was the largest sample size in his career, pitching over 160 innings just once before, back in 2016. After a few injury-riddled campaigns several years ago, Rodon has implemented a few major tweaks to mitigate injury and reduce the probability of missing time.
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The Yankees have built a truly dominant starting rotation:
Adding him to a rotation consisting of Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortés, and Frankie Montas is certainly intimidating if you’re on the opposite side. The diversity the Bombers have in the starting rotation is quite impressive, consisting of two lefties, Rodon and Cortes.
Rodon doesn’t just have tangible strengths, he also has a fearless mentality and empowering style.
Steve Serby of the New York Post interviewed Carlos Rodon, gathering some great answers to showcase his mentality and excitement to pitching New York:
Baseball’s a game of failure, right? I don’t like failing, so every time I fail seems like I always want to get punched in the face again, so I always come back for more. I always just try to beat the game even though this game will never be beaten, it’ll beat you. You win sometimes, a lot of times you take a lot of punches, I guess … It’s never-ending, it’s always evolving. I can always be better at something else. I can always get better at something in my game. What will make me better? What will make me better than the next guy?
Rodon understands what it is like to fight back from injury, put together near-perfect games, and then get thrashed during the next outing on national television. The life of a pitcher is certainly a polarizing one, but experiencing ebbs and flows is part of the job description.
Pitching in Yankee Stadium offers an entirely different beast, especially considering the harsh response from fans if individual players struggle. Yankee fans have run multiple players out of town, including Joey Gallo and Clint Frazier- — some believe Andrew Benintendi decided to stay away and find a more welcoming team.
Rodon certainly talks a big game, indicating he will give 100% daily, but the results will ultimately determine his fate with the team. Signing a six-year, $162 million deal locks him in for the long term, so the Yankees are hoping he will provide substantial value.
Just know that whenever I step on the mound, and I walk out to the field, you know I’m gonna lay it all out there, I’m gonna give you all I got.