If you were busy watching Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers clinch the NFC West over their rival Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night, you may have missed the Carlos Rodón news. The Yankees, the team everyone loves to hate, finally made a splash in this 2023 MLB free agency. New York signed Rodon to a six-year, $162-million deal. It was a much-needed signing for a team with question marks in the rotation seemingly for several years. The questions though remain, is Rodon worth the contract? What is his fantasy baseball value for 2023? What is the true impact of this signing for the Yankees? And what else is left on the free agent market now?


What is Carlos Rodón’s 2023 fantasy baseball value?

Over the last few years, the Dodgers and Giants, and to a degree, White Sox, have been described as pitching revivalists. So have the Yankees recently. Think about the year that Jameson Taillon and Luis Severino had coming back from injury. That’s what Rodon hopes to keep building on. It’s been a great two-year stretch for him with both the White Sox and Giants which indicates the home park, nor league should matter for Rodon’s success. Speaking of the park, according to Baseball Savant Park Factors, with a three-year rolling average, Yankee Stadium ranks 20th for hitters, while Chicago is seventh and San Fran 13th. Interesting right? Being a southpaw in Yankee Stadium is normally great as a hitter but also great as a pitcher. Based on those Park Factors, only one AL East team, Boston, ranked inside the top 13 last year (without a three-year rolling average) while the Yankees, Rays, and Orioles were all between 19th-24th.

Stepping away from the park talk, what does his stuff signal for his success? Let’s face it, he’s a two-to-two-and-a-half pitch pitcher. Historically it’s hard to have consistent success as a starter with a limited arsenal. However, his stuff is so elite that he can get away with it, just like he has for two years now. The velocity on his fastball lasted the whole year in 2022 with him consistently touching 100 on the pitch and that wipeout slider is a thing of beauty. I mean Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) has several videos featuring him on his feed, here’s a great example:

Can his stuff last in the typically vaunted AL East though? Let’s take a look at Kevin Gausman last year. He went from the Giants on a similar prove-it type deal to Rodon to the AL East in Toronto last offseason. How’d that go? Over 174.1 innings for the Blue Jays, we saw his ERA be 3.35 but his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA all be sub-3.00. He also gave up fewer homers per nine in Toronto than either season in San Francisco while keeping his K-rates the same. Hmmm… It looks like a pitcher who uses mainly two pitches with a slightly used tertiary pitch can do well in the AL East. He can safely be taken as an SP2 for fantasy which is exactly where he slots into the Yankees rotation right behind Gerrit Cole. Expect a slightly higher ERA and perhaps a slight uptick in WHIP but wins, strikeouts, K-rates, and home run rates should all improve.

How does Carlos Rodón’s signing impact the New York Yankees?

The impact should be immediate. Adding an essential co-ace behind Gerrit Cole is what the Yankees have needed to do since signing Cole. The biggest question mark coming into last year, really the last 3-4 years, has been starting pitching depth. They have that now, though a lot of fans would still like to have Jordan Montgomery in the starting five. New York’s starting rotation of Cole, Rodon, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes, and Frankie Montas is a lot deeper with Rodon in it. The impact of that is also bigger than just starting pitching depth.

It takes the pressure off of the bullpen too. While Aaron Boone has been very good at managing the bullpen usage, innings, and keeping them fresh, the usage has still piled up. The Yankees averaged 5.5 innings a start last year with 3.5 innings from the pen per game. If Cole and Rodon combine for 490 innings in 2023 over 65 starts, that’s a load of innings taken off the bullpen and they can continue to be as dominant as they’ve been.

How does Carlos Rodón’s signing impact the starting pitcher market?

To be honest, there are really not any notable free-agent pitchers left, at least not impact arms. The likes of Rich Hill, Zack Greinke, Michael Wacha, and Jordan Lyles are still there; now excuse me while I vomit. So free agents are out of the question for improvement, however, there are arms available to be traded. Look at the Mets with Tylor Megil and David Peterson who are now out of guaranteed roles, Tampa always seems to have arms to trade, as do the Cardinals and Toronto. So while the trade market has been slow thus far in the offseason or Hot Stove as we like to call it, this signing could very well be the trigger the trade market needed.


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