Pressure mounts on Carlos Rodon as Yankees shape 2024 roster
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Amid the Yankees’ clubhouse buzz, fueled by the arrival of Juan Soto, a contrasting sentiment looms over Carlos Rodon. Approaching the second year of his substantial six-year, $162 million contract, the southpaw shoulders a weighty burden to perform in a crucial season for the team.
The optimism surrounding Carlos Rodon as a potent complement to Gerrit Cole last year swiftly dissipated, giving way to a disappointing campaign for both the player and the franchise. Now, with Soto joining for his final year before free agency and the championship window seemingly narrower, the Yankees are relying heavily on Carlos Rodon to recapture his potential.
“Rodon in Year 2, we expect, obviously, hopefully, Rodon like we imported,” declared GM Brian Cashman during the winter meetings, leaving no room for uncertainty.
Carlos Rodon is under pressure to perform
While a stellar 2023 from Carlos Rodon wouldn’t have necessarily ruled out the pursuit of another top starter, Michael King’s departure to the Padres via the Soto trade has intensified the imperative for Rodon’s success.
Following the Yankees’ unsuccessful bid for Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they turned their attention to Marcus Stroman. While this acquisition enhances their pitching arsenal, it also intensifies the pressure on Carlos Rodon to recapture his dominant form in the upcoming 2024 season.
Positioned behind Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon stands out as having the highest potential among the team’s starters. His stellar performance from 2021 to 2022, marked by a 2.67 ERA, 422 strikeouts in 310 ⅔ innings, and 55 starts, justified the significant contract offered by the Yankees.
However, the 2023 season proved to be a source of frustration. A lone spring training start was followed by a series of injuries, reminiscent of the challenges that plagued him before his breakout. A forearm strain, persistent back issues delaying his debut until July, and a hamstring strain marred his campaign.
Even when seemingly healthy, Carlos Rodon faced struggles on the mound. His season concluded with a disappointing 6.85 ERA in 14 starts, reaching a low point in a disastrous outing against the Royals, where he conceded eight runs with no outs, underscored by a tense on-field exchange with pitching coach Matt Blake.
Can Carlos Rodon rebound?
The weight of a substantial contract, such as Carlos Rodon’s, is indisputable. Despite facing the challenges head-on and embracing the expectations, his first year with the new team inevitably brought its share of difficulties. As both player and team gear up for the second year, there is a sense of increased comfort and optimism for improved outcomes.
Manager Aaron Boone candidly acknowledged the trials Carlos Rodon encountered, labeling it a disappointing season for all involved. Recognizing the paramount role of health in the sport, Boone expressed hope that the experience would refocus Rodon on maintaining optimal physical conditioning.
Boone maintained confidence in Carlos Rodon’s undeniable talent, emphasizing the collective objective of aiding him in reaching his full potential.
Understanding the critical connection between Carlos Rodon’s success and the consistency of his delivery, the Yankees are banking on his commitment to physical improvement during the offseason. They anticipate his arrival at spring training in an improved condition, having utilized the offseason to meticulously plan his workout routine, throwing program, and overall preparation.
The foundation established during this period is crucial to ensuring that Carlos Rodon enters spring training ready for a robust comeback.
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