Yankees’ problem child? Carlos Rodon’s inflexibility tests team’s patience

Yankees' Carlos Rodon is pitching at Angel Stadium on Mya 31, 2024.
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Sara Molnick
Thursday July 11, 2024

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The 2024 season initially seemed promising for Carlos Rodon, who appeared to regain fan support over a two-month stretch. Unfortunately, this progress was abruptly halted by a sudden regression in his performance. Along with it, his emotional display and stubborn attitude are fast eroding the New York Yankees’ trust in him and potential trade in the future can’t be ruled out.

Carlos Rodon’s difficulties with the Yankees have escalated, with his emotionally charged pitching style exacerbating his struggles to rebound from setbacks. Despite maintaining the velocity and movement of his best pitch, he has unexpectedly lost the form that made him a back-to-back Cy Young candidate.

This situation hints at a disconnect between Carlos Rodon’s approach and the coaching staff’s strategies. His adherence to using his fastball as in past successful seasons is not delivering the desired outcomes, indicating a need for either a strategic adjustment or enhanced communication between Rodón and the coaching staff. However, he and Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake look like they are not on the same page.

Blake has garnered acclaim for his data-driven approach to improving pitchers’ performances since joining the team. His methods have reportedly led to significant advancements for many pitchers on the roster. However, starting pitcher Carlos Rodon has notably struggled to benefit from Blake’s guidance. His 2023 season was plagued by injuries and subpar performances, frequently allowing multiple runs before recording an out. His season hit a low point in Kansas City, where he failed to retire a single batter.

Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes are with Yankees' pitching coach Matt Blake during the 2024 spring training camp in Tampa.

Carlos Rodon’s difficulties adapting to Blake’s coaching methods contrast sharply with the success experienced by other pitchers under Blake’s mentorship. This situation poses a unique challenge for the Yankees’ pitching staff as they strive to help him regain his form and consistency on the mound.

The Yankees pitcher’s ongoing struggles underscore the complex dynamics between coaches and players, even at the highest levels of professional baseball. Carlos Rodon’s 2024 season continues to echo his difficulties in 2023. Despite showing promising advanced metrics in April and May, the pitcher has recently seen a troubling decline in performance.

Although Carlos Rodon’s fastball retains the same qualities that brought him success in the 2021-2022 seasons, it has now become largely ineffective. His starts have been marred by early runs, including recent outings where he conceded four runs to the first four batters and five runs before recording an out in Toronto.

Yankees' Carlos Rodon during the game against the Atlanta Braves on June 21, 2024.

The data-driven approach of pitching coach Matt Blake, which has proven beneficial for many Yankees pitchers, seems to conflict with Carlos Rodon’s preferences. The left-hander appears hesitant to diversify his pitch mix early in games, often over-relying on his fastball until it’s too late to adjust.

Is trading Carlos Rodon an option?

The presence of General Manager Brian Cashman at a recent game added to the pressure, resulting in another lackluster performance from Carlos Rodon. While Cashman’s pitching acquisitions have faced scrutiny before, Rodón’s dramatic decline was largely unforeseen.

A particularly troubling aspect of Carlos Rodon’s struggles is his apparent reluctance to modify his approach, despite having access to Matt Blake, the Yankees’ well-regarded pitching coach. He has shown effectiveness in later innings after initial struggles, indicating that adjustments could potentially yield positive results. Additionally, the presence of Andy Pettitte, known for his adaptability late in his career, offers further support and guidance for Carlos Rodon.

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Speculation has arisen regarding potential underlying issues affecting Carlos Rodon’s performance and his hesitance to change. As the season progresses, the Yankees’ management may need to have a candid conversation with him about his future with the team.

There is growing consideration that team owner Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman might have to contemplate significant measures, possibly including absorbing a large portion of Carlos Rodon’s contract. Such a move would aim to benefit both the pitcher and the team’s roster structure.

This situation underscores the complex challenges teams face when high-profile acquisitions fail to meet expectations, requiring a balance of financial commitments with on-field performance and player development.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Yankees’ problem child? Carlos Rodon’s inflexibility tests team’s patience

  1. STOP IT! MATT BLAKE AND HIS ANALYTICAL ILK ARE NOT the great pitching coaches you make them out to be. They are useless during the game itself.

    As for Rodón, they knew what they were getting when they signed him to that ridiculous contract. If they didn’t understand it, or put language in the. contract to make sure he was on board, that’s on them!

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