The Yankees unveiled their prized offseason acquisitions this week. First, it was making the Aaron Judge signing (and his captaincy) official. Next, it was introducing a clean-shaven Carlos Rodon to the media.
Among the many things Rodon discussed on Thursday was a big goal of his for the 2023 season. It’s not a complicated goal, either. The southpaw just wants to pitch for the Yankees and pitch a lot.
More specifically, Rodon is aiming to surpass the 200-inning plateau, something he’s never done (quote via NJ.com):
Yeah, I’m eyeing the mark 200 innings. That’s the goal. I hope I can hit it and surpass it. I would assume that would be the case because we’re going to be in the postseason, so there’ll be some extra innings tacked on there. That’s what I’m getting my body ready for and I think it’s ready to do that.
If there’s been one knock on Rodon during his career, it’s his durability. He dealt with his fair share of injuries early on. This included a shoulder issue in 2017 and Tommy John surgery in 2019. However, the past two seasons have been among his most consistent.
The lefty tossed just 7.2 innings in 2020 as he returned from his latest surgery. But then he came back in 2021 and racked up 132.2 frames, his most at that time since 2016. That was followed up with 178 innings for the San Francisco Giants in 2022, which is a new career-high mark.
So, reaching the 200-inning plateau is certainly within reach. Based on the ramp-up he’s had the past two years, his arm will be prepared for the rigors of a season that includes 30 starts (or, at least close to that number).
The mere inclusion of Rodon in the Yankees’ rotation has made it one of the best in baseball. The Yankees already have one durable ace in Gerrit Cole. What’s better than one durable ace, you ask? Well, two, of course!
While Cole has had some ups and downs since becoming a Yankee, there’s one thing nobody can deny: the dude takes the ball every fifth day. Not counting the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Cole has started at least 30 games per year since 2017. He’s also surpassed the 200-inning mark on four occasions during this period. Even with less of an opportunity, Cole’s 73 innings in 2020 were still among the most in baseball.
Acquiring great players is key to consistent success. However, another key is finding a way to keep those great players healthy most of the time. After some early-career struggles with injuries, it appears that Rodon and his arm are ready to rack up the innings. Joining a rotation with someone like Cole, who has built a reputation for being a workhorse, will undoubtedly be a great thing for the southpaw. And the Yankees.