It’s Too Soon For New York Yankees to Overreact to Ugly Carlos Rodon Start in 2023

Published 01/07/2024, 9:30 AM EST

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Playing for the New York Yankees isn’t a walk in the park. The fans there? They’re a whole different breed – hostile, aggressive, merciless. It’s like they’re a part of the team, which probably explains those 27 World Series rings. But fall short of what the Big Apple expects, and you’ll know it. Just ask Carlos Rodon, who came in with a massive six-year, $162 million deal, and his first year…

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2022 was a tough year for the Yankees, getting swept by the Astros in the ALCS. But the spotlight was all on Aaron Judge and his record-breaking 62 homers. The front office nailed it by locking Judge down with a nine-year, $360 million deal. They even boosted their roster by snagging lefty ace Rodon. Naturally, everyone thought the 2023 Yankees would be unbeatable, but injuries threw a wrench in those plans. Now, a season later, fans are ripping into Rodon. But here’s my question: Is it fair to write off a 2x All-Star after just one injury-riddled season?

Rodon’s past is evidence that it’s too soon to write him off

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When the Yankees snagged Gerrit Cole with that whopping $325 million deal in 2019, it felt like they had the World Series in their sights again. Though they haven’t quite hit the mark, you can’t pin that on Cole. The guy’s been in the top 5 for Cy Young voting three out of his four years in New York. Then, this rotation, already spearheaded by Cole, got a serious power-up with Rodon thanks to his killer All-Star seasons in San Francisco and Chicago, boasting ERAs of 2.37 and 2.88.

Little did anyone know how 2023 would pan out. The 31-year-old ace kicked off the season on the injured list, sidelined by a muscle strain in his left forearm. Then, just when you thought he’d be back, a back injury kept him benched. By July, Rodon finally made it back to the roster, with hopes of turning around a struggling Yankees’ season.

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But his struggles didn’t end there. In August, he faced yet another setback with a strained left hamstring, which meant more time away from the mound. The disappointment with Rodon was palpable. 2023 went far from planned. He posted a staggering 6.85 ERA, pitched just 64.1 innings across 14 starts, giving up 15 homers and 51 runs. This was a stark contrast to his previous two seasons, where he pitched 310.2 innings in 55 starts with a 33.9% strikeout rate.

It seems the mix of injuries and the intense New York environment just didn’t click for him, and under the glaring lights of the Big Apple, he faltered. So, it’s understandable why fans are frustrated, calling it a terrible deal. But I’d argue for a bit more patience. Let’s see him play a full, injury-free season before we pass final judgment. Maybe it’s too soon to write him off?

Even Carlos Rodon remains confident that he’ll lock in

After his final start of the season, and a few uncalled-for antics, Rodon opened up on the forgettable season. He said, “I’m just kind of looking forward to taking a little bit of time for myself and getting away from baseball. When the time is right, hopefully a couple of weeks after that, I’ll get back to training and really focus on what I want to do on the mound.”

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He received support from skipper Aaron Boone, who acknowledged a hard year but looked optimistic. Aaron Boone said, “He’s had a very difficult year… But we do feel like we’re in a good spot.”

How does the New York Yankees rotation look right now?

Having missed the chance to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Yankees are left with a gaping hole in their rotation. Right now, they’ve got Gerrit Cole at the helm, with Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt in the mix. It looks great on paper, but in reality, not so much. Cole’s the only solid bet. Cortes and Rodon are just coming off terrible injury seasons and Schmidt’s still pretty green. The biggest issue – one crucial spot left unfilled.

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via Getty

So, the quest continues for that missing piece in the rotation. Who’s it gonna be? Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Dylan Cease? Everyone’s wondering who’s going to snag that last spot. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Written by:

Mohsin Baldiwala

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Mohsin Baldiwala, an experienced MLB writer at EssentiallySports, holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications with a minor in public policy. His journey into the heart of baseball is as unique as it is charming, taking root in the quirky universe of 'Seinfeld.' It was through the endearingly hapless George Costanza, a character with his own comedic ties to the New York Yankees, that Mohsin first glimpsed the allure of the storied franchise.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

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