Monday marks the first full day of MLB’s Winter Meetings out in San Diego. If you’re a Yankees fan, you’re mostly waiting on pins and needles, wondering when a decision from Aaron Judge is going to drop. But while the Bombers wait, they’re pursuing other opportunities to improve the club.
We’ve heard that the Yankees’ Plan B — should Judge not re-sign — would include pivoting to the shortstop market that’s full of elite options. But Brian Cashman and Co. are hanging out at the top of the starting rotation market, too.
New York did request medicals on Jacob deGrom before he signed a five-year deal with the Texas Rangers. It’s undetermined if that was any more than just due diligence, though. They’ve also been connected to Justin Verlander in the past. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees are the big-market team most focused on a pursuit of left-hander Carlos Rodon.
The southpaw opted out of his deal with the San Francisco Giants, and for good reason. In 175 innings pitched, Rodon went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. His improved strikeout rate from 2021 was sustained in 2022, evidenced by a 33.4% strikeout rate and a 7.3% walk rate. This all led to a career-high 6.2 fWAR.
Heyman is reporting that Rodon’s camp is looking for six years and around $30 million per season in the hurler’s next contract. He’s a unique option at the top of the pitching market when compared to deGrom and Verlander. Rodon is much younger (he’ll be 30 by Opening Day) and is the only lefty among these three. He’s also the only one looking for a long-term deal. His services won’t come cheap, but they’ll be cheaper per year than his two counterparts.
It’s easy to see why the thought of plugging him into the Yankees’ rotation would be tantalizing. According to Roster Resource, New York’s current rotation looks like this:
- Gerrit Cole
- Nestor Cortes
- Frankie Montas
- Luis Severino
- Domingo German
The first two spots are solid. Montas struggled after getting acquired last summer at the trade deadline. So, you’d imagine his status for 2023 is up in the air. Severino has flashed ace potential, but his 102 innings pitched are the most he’s compiled since 2018. German also hasn’t pitched 100-plus innings since 2019. He tossed 72 in 2022.
Rodon would give the Yankees a formidable top three. The question for now is… are the Yankees doing this as part of Plan A that’ll ideally include Judge in the outfield, or is this part of Plan B should he sign elsewhere?
With a decision from the American League MVP supposedly coming soon, we’ll see how his decision impacts New York’s pursuit of Rodon.