Ex-Yankees great slams Carlos Rodon for redundant-style, fragile emotions

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AP
Michael Bennington
Wednesday February 14, 2024

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On Monday, Carlos Rodon, speaking publicly for the first time this spring, expressed confidence in his ability to thrive as a two-pitch pitcher, despite the challenges faced in his disappointing debut season with the Yankees. However, Yankees legend and now-broadcaster David Cone questions his thin-pitch mix, the lack of Plan B, and failure to keep his composure after facing adversity.

This stands in stark contrast to Carlos Rodon’s confidence in his abilities. He told Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media that he is aware of his strengths and understands his potential when utilizing those two pitches effectively. He also pointed out that the statistics support his assertion. The pitcher specifically mentioned his fastball and slider, the primary pitches he relied on for nearly 90 percent of his deliveries in 2023.

Carlos Rodon stated that he predominantly throws fastballs, accounting for approximately 61-62 percent of his pitches, which are typically difficult for hitters to make solid contact against. However, he acknowledged that the dynamics of Yankee Stadium might necessitate adjustments in his approach and emphasized his identity as a two-pitch pitcher and expressed a desire for this characterization to be highlighted.

Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon is at Yankee Stadium during September 2023.
X-@YankeeMandela

Yankees alum blasts Carlos Rodon as a limited pitcher who rolls over

When locked in, Carlos Rodón unleashes dominance primarily through his fastball-slider combo. This formula served him well during his stellar seasons with the White Sox and Giants, ultimately landing him a hefty six-year, $162 million contract with the Yankees.

However, the cracks start to show when his signature duo isn’t silencing hitters. Without a reliable “Plan B” in his arsenal, especially when facing declining command or velocity, batters start exploiting his vulnerabilities.

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Yankees legend and now-broadcaster David Cone echoes this concern. During a recent appearance on “The Show” podcast, he labeled Carlos Rodon a “redundant-style pitcher,” emphasizing the need for diversifying his approach to maintain his peak performance.

Cone pointed out that relying solely on a two-pitch repertoire could be effective when a pitcher is consistently throwing at high velocity with excellent command. However, he highlighted the importance of Carlos Rodon having alternative strategies when facing challenges such as not having optimal velocity or control. Cone emphasized the necessity of possessing a diverse pitching arsenal, including off-speed pitches like changeups, to maintain unpredictability and effectiveness on the mound.

Cone highlighted the increasing awareness among batters throughout the league regarding pitchers who heavily utilize high fastballs and low-breaking balls.

Carlos Rodon lacks an alternative plan

But Carlos Rodon’s struggles in 2023 cannot solely be attributed to his pitch selection. Cone observed that the pitcher faced significant challenges when he suffered an injury early in spring training, which put him at a disadvantage. Additionally, Cone noted that the pitcher’s emotional nature could have exacerbated the situation, as he tends to pitch with intense feelings. Cone suggested that these factors contributed to a difficult start to the season, leading to a cascade of struggles as the emotional and physical toll mounted on Carlos Rodon.

Yankees 2024 rotation will have Marcus Stroman, Gerrit Cole, and Carlos Rodon
X-@TalkinYanks

The New York Yankee rotation enters the season balanced precariously between immense potential and concerning uncertainty. If Carlos Rodon, Néstor Cortes, and experienced Marcus Stroman all fulfill their All-Star aspirations, while Gerrit Cole reigns supreme as a defending Cy Young winner, the sky’s the limit for the pinstriped squad. However, this hopeful narrative rests on several volatile factors, making depth crucial as inevitable injuries will test the durability of the starting five.

David himself, the legendary Yankee and current baseball analyst, underlines this modern reality. Gone are the days of relying solely on a dominant starting five. Today’s teams, the Bombers included, need a robust bullpen with at least five capable arms ready to seamlessly integrate, eat innings, and deliver consistent performance when called upon.

Carlos Rodon reported to Tampa in excellent shape physically.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Cone noted that the Yankees appear to have some deficiencies in terms of their overall depth, highlighting the importance of evaluating their farm system. He emphasized that the team will heavily depend on their young pitching talent, citing players like Will Warren as examples, who are expected to be given opportunities during the season. Cone suggested that these young arms will be crucial in addressing the team’s depth concerns in pitching.

Warren, alongside prospects Clayton Beeter and Chase Hampton, represents the primary figures poised for a potential breakthrough into the big leagues. Additionally, pitchers such as Luke Weaver, Yoendrys Gómez, Luis Gil, and Cody Poteet are among the internal rotation options the Yankees have in reserve.

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