Yankees’ road to championship runs through Carlos Rodon, claims Michael Kay

Carlos Rodon, the Yankees' starting pitcher, is at Yankee Stadium during the 2023 season.

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As the New York Yankees prepare for the upcoming 2024 season, their focus is firmly on clinching a championship. Amidst their efforts to augment the roster with new talent, YES Network analyst Michael Kay identifies a key asset already within the team – a healthy Carlos Rodon.

Expressing optimism, Kay notes Carlos Rodon’s belief in becoming a formidable force for the Yankees, considering him the most crucial player for the team’s progression to a championship level.

Carlos Rodon has to justify his tag

The Yankees acquired Carlos Rodon in the 2022 offseason with high expectations for his impact in the starting rotation. Unfortunately, his 2023 season was marred by injuries, starting with a left forearm issue that placed him on the injured list. In his 14 starts, he posted a disappointing 3-8 record and a 6.85 ERA.

Yankees starter Carlos Rodon is in action against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sept. 12, 2023.

However, heading into 2024, there are positive signs. The 31-year-old left-hander, who signed a six-year, $162 million contract in December 2022, is reportedly making significant strides in the offseason. If he maintains good health, Carlos Rodon has the potential to fulfill the role of the ace the Yankees desperately require.

With two All-Star appearances and seven years of experience, primarily with the Chicago White Sox, Carlos Rodon showcased his prowess in 2022 while pitching for the San Francisco Giants. That season, he impressed with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.028 WHIP across 31 starts.

Should Carlos Rodon rediscover his 2022 form and stay injury-free throughout the 2024 season, he could be the game-changer for the Yankees. His dynamic fastball and formidable slider possess the capability to stifle opposing lineups and propel the Yankees to championship glory.

While the pressure is undeniably high, Carlos Rodon’s talent and seasoned experience position him well to handle the challenge. The anticipation in the Bronx for the 2024 Yankees is palpable, and the prospect of a healthy Carlos Rodon stands as a significant factor in fueling that excitement.

Yankees rest high hopes on the pitcher

Carlos Rodon emerged as the Yankees’ major offseason acquisition last year, but the left-handed pitcher fell short of his usual dominance. After two consecutive seasons with double-digit wins and at least 24 starts, the 31-year-old was limited to just 14 starts in 2023, posting a 6.85 ERA—his second-worst of his career.

Injuries marred Carlos Rodon’s inaugural season in the Bronx, causing a delayed debut in July and disrupting the team’s integration plans.

Acknowledging the impact of the lack of an adequate “on-ramp,” both Carlos Rodon and the Yankees are addressing the issue to ensure a smoother start to the upcoming season.

Carlos Rodon has already reported to the Yankees’ Tampa facility ahead of schedule, a positive development noted by Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Cashman shared that the pitcher is making noticeable improvements and emphasized a more collaborative approach compared to the previous winter.

Cashman highlighted Carlos Rodon’s positive arm action and dedicated efforts to maintain his health. The pitcher’s optimistic attitude toward his offseason regimen is a promising sign.

Carlos Rodon at Yankee Stadium on December 22, 2022.

Expressing optimism about Carlos Rodon’s potential return to form, Cashman anticipates the pitcher returning to his capabilities. Both the starting pitcher and the team are eager to put the challenges of 2023 behind them.

While Gerrit Cole, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, is a definite presence in the Yankees’ rotation for 2023, uncertainties surround Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes due to injury-plagued seasons. Marcus Stroman is a new addition to the Yankees, and Clarke Schmidt is entering his second full season as a starter.

With considerable question marks in the rotation, speculation persists that the Yankees may make another move for a starter. As the Yankees’ pitchers and catchers are set to report on Feb. 15, the window for any potential new starters to acclimate with the team and coaching staff is narrowing, making timely deals essential.

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