White Sox, Carlos Rodón can’t quit each other

When Carlos Rodón walked off the mound following his disastrous, game-altering appearance in Game 3 of the Wild Card Series, I’d assumed he’d thrown his final pitch for the White Sox.

Of course, I also assumed that Rick Renteria would still be the manager.

Instead, Renteria’s out, and now it’ll be up to Tony La Russa to figure out how to effectively deploy Rodón, who is back with the White Sox one a one-year, $3 million contract. Jon Heyman broke the story, and Bob Nightengale delivered the news with his favorite adjective.

I’d call Rodón “pitching depth” more than “bullpen depth,” because he’s been far from fabulous in his handful of relief attempts, with his final appearance of 2020 in Oakland preceded by a bad call and worse results in Cleveland. But Rodón also hadn’t proven useful as a starter, so Renteria’s management of him looked a lot like a manifestation of his exasperation.

Rodón’s ERA has risen every year on the White Sox and he hasn’t been healthy, so I was content to see both sides move on when the White Sox non-tendered him. He’s coming back at a $1.5 million pay cut, so the Sox correctly identified his market value. It’s more that his return feels a little too much like “Gordon Beckham, but in a bench role this time” for my excitement. Fortunately, even if Rodón remains a constant, the combination of a new manager in La Russa and a new pitching coach in Ethan Katz keep it from being the definition of insanity.

(Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire)

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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MrStealYoBase

Carlos Rodon 2: Electric Boogaloo

HallofFrank

I like this (relative to my expectations). We know Rodón’s flaws all too well, but any cheap, SP depth signing was going to have flaws.

And a reminder: Rodón was good in 2019. In fact, I’d say he was about what the Sox hoped they were drafting: 3.62 FIP, 11.9 K/9. The problem, of course, was the injury, but 10-15 starts of that will be well worth $3m.

HallofFrank

It does, but Rodón should be 7th in the SP pecking order. I doubt they’re expecting 150+ IP. It’s only a month of starts, but it’s encouraging that his last month of starts was that good.

Trooper Galactus

They’ve already said he’s vying for the fifth starter spot.

HallofFrank

Sure, why not? But if you had to make a depth chart right now for IP expected in ‘21 among SP, he’s 7th.

Trooper Galactus

I don’t even expect Rodon to pitch more innings than half the bullpen if that’s the metric we’re using here.

Otter

I know I’m supposed to hate this move, but it’s hard to get too upset over one year at $3m. The Sox can walk away at anytime at that price.

The key will be how they plan to use him and if he starts the year as the 5th starter, this is unacceptable. But if he’s going to the bullpen, hopefully they can turn him into an Andrew Miller type rather whatever it is they have been doing.

Rodon’s been so hurt the last four years that it’s basically impossible to know if he’s got anything left… but the one thing I do like is the Sox are familiar with his medicals and injuries*. So if the choice was between Rodon, Richards (who remember got $10m!!!), or Shoemaker, I guess I’d rather go with the X-Rays you know.

*Yes, the Sox also over saw him getting hurt so maybe this is too wishful.

MattVerplaetse

This move in isolation is probably inconsequential. The issue I have is that they’re crying poor after throwing this three million at Rodon and jumping the market to pay Eaton above market value. Meanwhile, there are no clear solutions for DH and backup C, and teams who aren’t even trying are signing better RF options.

Trooper Galactus

I’d like to know how many teams were jumping over one another to give Rodon $3 million guaranteed. This kinda feels like a guy who was going to have to potentially settle for a minor league deal and the White Sox swooped in and overpaid. I mean, I would have thought $3 million would have been maybe the max in an incentive-laden deal for Rodon.

GrinnellSteve

This is where I am. I don’t mind having Rodon as an option, but it seems like it should be on a minor league contract. He has a higher ceiling than a lot of the guys left, but can he be healthy and productive for even a part of a season? The cost of finding out should be less.

tommytwonines

Responses/answer to your sentence, sentence, question, sentence: OK. Yes. Hahaha you’re sh***in me of course not . Yes.

Greg Nix

Rodon stinks, but so would anyone else at $3m. Budget remains the biggest org problem.

NateDPT12

What’s frustrating is there were definitely better options available at roughly 5 million more. Why that is cost prohibitive for them I don’t understand.

Last edited 1 year ago by NateDPT12
jhomeslice

Exactly. Rosario signed for 8M for just 1 year. He is a real left handed hitter, who might actually make the team better. Rodon deserved the league minimum after last year, and probably isn’t even worth that for anybody that saw him pitch.

MrStealYoBase

I just realized how sad it is that “sign Tyler Flowers to be backup catcher” is now at the top of my “Hopes and Dreams for the Offseason” list.

Trooper Galactus

At least that was a reasonable hope when the offseason started.

NateDPT12

“Gordon Beckham, but in a bench role this time” feels like an appropriate description.

I also would’ve accepted, “Remeber Carlos Rodon? He’s back! In pog form.”

rugbysox

The only way to flip him at the deadline.

StockroomSnail

Pogs are far more durable

dongutteridge

5 to 1 the Sox have to go looking for a starting pitcher at the deadline.

Maybe, they think Hendricks is gonna throw 160 innings.

Last edited 1 year ago by dongutteridge
Greg Nix

More like 2 to 1 the Sox desperately need a starter at the deadline and don’t get one.

MrStealYoBase

Straight up odds that they need a starter at the deadline and instead trade for a right-handed middle reliever

jhomeslice

What is the over/under on number of innings he will pitch for the season? I will go with 22. And the over/under on his ERA at 7.

Oddvark

I’ll take the under on the ERA. I would say 6 would be a better line.

Hard to say on the innings because we don’t know what his role will be, but I think there is a decent chance that Kopech starts in AAA and Rodon wins the 5th spot in the rotation for at least a few starts. So I’ll take the over.

Michael Kenny

“We believe Carlos Rodón’s return from the IL will be an excellent trade deadline addition.”

asinwreck

“Again.”

denman

When do they announce signing Mazara to a minor league deal for outfield depth?

asinwreck

I’d take a Mazara NRI at this point and give him at-bats in Charlotte to wait for Eloy & Eaton to hit the IL. Maybe he could double 2020’s HR output.

shaggy65

I’ve been half-expecting this move, as well. I don’t think he’d settle for a minor league deal, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him re-sign with us at 1yr—$4mil. Get ready for him to be the opening day DH.

(And for the record, that wouldn’t upset me. He’s still a young lefty bat with solid upside who’s making a concerted effort to improve.)

Greg Nix

How come it wouldn’t upset you if they open a contending season with a dude who sucked ass last year and has literally never been a good hitter in 2300 plate appearances as DH?

I picture myself being quite annoyed, personally! Would rather they bring back EE’s shambling corpse!

MattVerplaetse

The fact that we’re half expecting that move and it wouldn’t upset some of us shows that Stockholm Syndrome is a real thing.

John SF

For the record Stockholm syndrome is not a real thing. I know this is a sports book but still.

asinwreck

I’m less surprised that the Sox would offer Rodón a contract than I am to see him take it. Right now the Sox have four rotation spots locked up and a few options (some better than others) for the fifth spot.

Given his issues the past 3 years, I was expecting him to go to a team like Seattle, Texas, or San Francisco that needs innings. Health willing, he could build up his value for a shot at a better payday next season.

The optimistic take is he prefers to work with Ethan Katz/Curt Hasler/Brian Ball/the pitch lab than take a shot at more innings elsewhere. I’ll go with that as it makes my weekend happier.

Trooper Galactus

None of those teams was probably willing to offer him a guaranteed deal, much less $3 million. He has as much a chance building up value with the White Sox as anybody else (which, in my opinion, is about a 0% chance).

LoveLittleLouie

See your point. Worth the risk for both sides.

abehickock

Looking forward to watching Rodon fall behind in the count again this year.

jorgefabregas

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tdogg

I’m ok with this move but then again I’m a sucker.

shaggy65

Rodon is basically a younger version of the Paxton signing I wanted. He’s generally been good when healthy, but those times have been rare. Between him, Kopech, and Lopez—somebody should be ready to be a 5th starter come April.

My concern with Carlos is that he looked cooked in 2020. He was having trouble with his fastball velocity and his slider was only a shadow of its former self. If that was just post-TJ rust, then fine. But I feel like if he was back to form during his “showcase” this week he would have commanded more than $3mil.

Greg Nix

Paxton has been both way better and way healthier than Rodon.

Last edited 1 year ago by Greg Nix
35Shields

“Corporate needs you to find the difference between these two pictures.”

Rodon 2017-2020: 2.6 WAR

Paxton 2017-2020: 11.9 WAR

“They’re the same picture.”

jhomeslice

Pretty mind boggling. He cost them the division vs the Indians, and was a disaster in game 3 vs the A’s. Has not been healthy in 4 years, and has gotten worse every year. That’s not enough of a deterrent?

For only 5M more they could have grabbed Rosario, who might actually help make a difference. Oh well, we all know how this is going to end.

Trooper Galactus

For only $5 million more they could have grabbed Quintana.

jhomeslice

You are right. I think this is close to the biggest joke of the offseason. They are 14th in payroll, and in the past 10 years 5 teams have been in the top 5, while no team with a payroll lower than 12th has won it. I wonder if there is any correlation, hmmm.

Trooper Galactus

I thought the Arenado trade would move the White Sox up to 13th, but I guess St. Louis was right behind them and overtook them to compensate. The Reds and Braves are both one or two signings away from overtaking them, though.

Oddvark

I’m not at all surprised at this signing. My expectations for how much they were going to spend on a backend/depth SP has dropped as the offseason progressed, so I was pretty sure $5M was now the very top end of their range. There aren’t great options at that price point, and Rodon is actually a decent one.

I also don’t put too much weight on a couple of relief appearances from a player who had almost no experience as a reliever especially one who was just returning from Tommy John surgery especially during a weird pandemic-affected shortened 2020 season.

The injury history is a legitimate concern as is the lack of great results that had trended in the wrong direction, but he hasn’t been terrible overall in the past, is still in his 20s, has shown flashes of talent dating back to his prospect days and rapid rise to the MLB where he held his own on arrival, and even showed solid velocity last year despite the poor results in limited innings.

I am very interested to see how Rodon and Cease, Lopez, and Kopech look during Spring Training, and how the new brain trust of La Russa & Katz decide to use them as the 2021 season starts.

Root Cause

If they putting the 2016 band back together, why didn’t they go get Q?

Michael Kenny

Too expensive (clearly)

quickly0and2

I love this signing of Rodon. And seeing that they did not sign Rosario – or possibly even attempt to – at the money he got from the Indians has me still hopeful for a significant DH signing.

MattVerplaetse

i am legitimately curious what you “love” about signing a guy who has mostly been either hurt, bad, or both in recent history. It’s about the most White Sox move there could be – not only cheap, but also unimaginative. They at least could have thrown that $3 million at a different flawed pitcher.

Trooper Galactus

Wait, he wasn’t being sarcastic?

MattVerplaetse

I really sincerely hope he was and that I totally misplayed that.

Trooper Galactus

It’s hard to tell how deluded some of the fan base has become.

Oddvark

I agree.

quickly0and2

OK – maybe I should back it off from “love” to “really like” the signing. I feel like Rodon is a strong bounce-back candidate. Yes, he’s been hurt, but the talent is there. As bad as he’s been recently, I imagine a turnaround rather than him getting worse

Last edited 1 year ago by quickly0and2
Trooper Galactus

Okay, now I ask you why they had to spend $3 million gambling he gets as good as he ever was rather than being as bad/hurt as he’s been.

quickly0and2

The money side of it will only bother me if they don’t add a DH. I think they are bluffing on the crying poor

Trooper Galactus

History (and signing Rodon to a guaranteed deal) suggests they are not bluffing.

quickly0and2

What they previously were able to offer to Machado and Wheeler still makes me think money is there – and to wonder if there isn’t one more significant move coming this offseason – maybe for Ozuna or Cruz. Probably me just being hopelessly optimistic. But I can dream.

Trooper Galactus

You just listed two players they publicly made offers to while behind the scenes they probably knew they wouldn’t land Machado with their offer and couldn’t land Wheeler without adding a year.

denman

Come on; I mean it’s one thing to criticize the Sox for maintaining a league average payroll despite having reached the point where they are legitimate contenders. But, they did make genuine offers to Machado and Wheeler that were rejected. It may have been naive of the Sox to believe Manny would accept $280+MM (with vesting options) when he was clearly asking for $300MM guaranteed. However, being naive is different from being dishonest. Machado could have accepted the Sox offer and JR and Co. would have honored the contract.

From what I’ve read about the Wheeler negotiations, once team Wheeler had competing offers of over $100MM, money (and duration) became irrelevant. Remaining on the east coast trumped all other considerations. I have no idea what payroll limitations Hahn operates under and while I’d expect the Sox to be among the top ten in player salaries during this “window”, I don’t see the sense of citing JR’s cheapness every time a top tier free agent signs with a team other than the Sox.

Trooper Galactus

The White Sox offered 8 years/$250 million with 2 years/$70 million in vesting options after that. Machado wanted 10/$300m guaranteed. The White Sox basically waited until another team gave him that and didn’t even attempt to counter. If they were trying to get Machado, they’d have paid him what he’s worth and had a guy who could still produce at an MVP level. But they didn’t want him at what he’s worth, they wanted him at their price, which is just a good way to finish in second place for an elite free agent.

Yolmer's gatorade

Meh, Hahn lowered expectations when he said the Sox were done spending, and now he is meeting or slightly exceeding lower expectations by adding Rodon. If they split around $8 million for a backup catcher and another bat, I would be satisfied. I think Rodon could play the role Gio Gonzalez was supposed to play last year as a swing man between starting when necessary and the bullpen. I don’t have strong feelings about Rodon’s talent. He has been injured so much that he might be done, but he has certainly has shown the ability to pitch well for stretches between injuries. If he can provide 70-100 league average innings, he will have served his purpose.

Since Hahn is dumpster diving for the rest of the roster, Brad Miller is another interesting good bad name. He hits righties, takes walks, and has positional flexibility even if he is a bad defender. Again, he could take at bats before Vaughn comes up and could squeeze Mendick out after. There are worse ways to spent $4-$5 million.

shaggy65

I also think Miller looks like an attractive fit. He even has a decent track record of hitting from the DH spot, which is something Rosario did not have. That’s not a given and it’s why I was a bit reluctant to sign Eddie for that role.

Josh

Hate the Cubs and always will but man is it rough to see them rebuild gather a bunch of young talent then supplement that with free agents to win a world series. Meanwhile Sox do the same gather the young talent open their window and Jerry crys broke as soon as its time to win while Cubs window closes and Ricketts decides to raise their budget anyway. Damn you Jerry for turning this franchise into the Second Place Sox smh

Michael Kenny

Hell, the Cubs gave Alfonso Soriano $136 million 14 years ago. The Sox have given out one free agent contract worth more than half of that.

LoveLittleLouie

Wow! Sorry, I have nothing to add, but that information leaves me speechless. So far looking like real indictments of both franchises.

Trooper Galactus

Man, it’s hard to spend $3 million on a starting pitcher and make me think it’s an overpay, yet here we are.

HallofFrank

It’s not an overpay. He was worth (at least) $3m in ‘19 in just 7 starts.

Trooper Galactus

You’re looking at it from a purely WAR/$$$ standpoint. Who dafuq spends $3 million guaranteed to a guy who can MAYBE pitch a quarter of the season? Also only applies if you’re considering the FanGraphs version of WAR, because B-Ref considered his 2019 trash (acknowledging ERA is not the best stat, but 5.19 is hard to defend regardless).

HallofFrank

I mean he’s started 20+ games in 3 of his 6 seasons. It’s not like he’s a lock to pitch only a quarter of the season.

The Cubs just signed Trevor Williams for $2.5m. I’d rather have Rodón than Williams. And given that the Cubs signed Williams hours after Rodón signed and the report that the Cubs were interested in Rodón, it’s not much of a leap to think the Cubs preferred Rodón, too.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not an inspiring signing and I’d much prefer the Sox shell out for a better option. But if you’re limiting yourself to $3m on a SP, this isn’t a bad way to spend it.

Trooper Galactus

He hasn’t pitched 20 games in three years, and he broke down last year in a shortened season where he started on the IL despite the late start. I really have no confidence he can give them meaningful innings, certainly not to a point where I’d be willing to hand him $3 million. As for Williams, he’s not been good since 2018, but at least he’s been able to pitch 25-30 starts his entire career (and didn’t miss a start in 2020 near as I can tell). I actually would have preferred him just based on availability.

HallofFrank

I’d rather go with Steiver or whoever is the hot hand in AAA than Williams. Which is kind of the point. You just can’t get much for $3, but Rodón at least has a reasonable shot of being good—even if he doesn’t do it for long.

Trooper Galactus

Rodon not being able to stay healthy kinda precludes him from a reasonable shot at being good.

HallofFrank

But it doesn’t, or at least it doesn’t preclude him from being worth $3m or valuable to this team. They don’t need 150+ IP from him—and if everyone else does their job they won’t need him at all.

Trooper Galactus

If you think the seven starts Rodon made in 2019 is worth spending $3 million to get in free agency, have at it.

David

Lottery ticket.

Trooper Galactus

From three weeks ago.

metasox

Am surprised he got more than a minor league deal. If the Sox have money to throw around, they should be patching all the holes they have.

ParisSox

3 mil GUARANTEED ?? that’s just crazy. He would have been happy accepting an incentive laden deal.

Maybe the Twins and/or Indians are messing with Hahn and threatening to sign the players he likes just to drive up the cost to Hahn. Eaton, Rodon, who’s next?

GrinnellSteve

Is Beckham still out there?

Trooper Galactus

We already signed Tim Beckham.

GrinnellSteve

Clearly I meant the Beckham who has turned the corner after making a lot of changes.

Trooper Galactus

I mean, still applies.

(And yes, I knew who you were referring to.)

LoveLittleLouie

Looks to me like both sides gave in to make the deal. Low upside without incentives for Rodon and maybe $1M more guarantee and ML deal from the Sox.

hitlesswonder

I agree with everyone that has said this is a gross overpay. So Sox…they target bad fits based solely on familiarity. Then they also pay way over market for production that can only be hoped for but not expected.

Rodon was not going to get a major league contract from anyone.
Eaton was someone they should not have signed…but if they did sign him it should have been for half of what Pederson got. Seriously…what was the market for Eaton?

If they signed Rodon and Eaton to reasonable contracts, they would have $8M left sign an impact bat.

NorthSideHitman

More “fabulous” bullshit from Nightengale.

MarketMaker

for a contract guy, hahn as gm seems to have a lousy grasp of what the market is paying people at any given point.

MarketMaker

i’m not sure you can even squint and say this man allocates capital well. it’s neither the shrewd budget signings of cash poor teams nor the slew of lottery tickets that spendy teams can afford.

sign 5 more rodon type pitchers and i’ll acquiesce. the sox should sign mazara to a nominal deal if not a couple someones like him. this team needs insurance.

MarketMaker

i like the “i can’t believe he cheated on me again” energy of this fanbase.

hineybird

Can we make it $4m and require him to keep those top buttons buttoned?

Competing teams shouldn’t be content to go out and sign shit pitchers who we already know firsthand are done. Rodon can’t stay healthy for five weeks and they think he has a legit chance to be a 5th starter?

not to mention, howling of a leash does Kopech need in order to be ready? He’s two years removed from TJS and was throwing at 100 this time last year? Why does he need 20 minor league starts before they’re willing to give that spot to him? I’d rather see Kopech pitch and struggle then see more of Rodon’s garbage.

Velocity typically is the first thing to come back after TJS. Feel for secondary pitches and command are what takes longer. Given how tenuous his command was to begin with, I don’t think it’s unfair to want to bring him along in AAA to get the kinks worked out in a less competitive environment.

Joliet Orange Sox

After reading the previous comments, I feel like I am in a small minority who doesn’t expect much from Rodón but who can’t muster any anger at this move because it is a one-year $3M deal and I think saying Rodón will compete for the 5th starter spot is very different from saying he’s expected to be the 5th starter. I expect I won’t remember this signing a year from now except in the unlikely event that the stars somehow align and Rodón is healthy and good.

hineybird

considering the chances that this season has a ton of double-headers, I think this could turn out to be a pretty valuable signing.

MrStealYoBase

This isn’t a take that I’ve seen talked about a lot but it’s a really excellent point.

Unless MLB does the same thing with the vaccine that they did with tests last year (just cut to the front of the line) and they don’t end up with many reschedules at all.

Trooper Galactus

I really want to agree with this, but Rodon’s track record of durability is such that I don’t think he’ll be around enough to really help much in this regard.

Ordinarily I’d agree about it not being a big deal since it’s only 1 year/$3 million, but this offseason is making it pretty clear that $3 million is a pretty significant portion of their allocated budget.

I think because he’s one of their own there’s a some chance this money doesn’t affect the pool to spend on other players in the way it would in a more rational place. The assumption that Jerry is just cheap sometimes doesn’t apply to players returning to or being kept with the Sox (see Konerko, Abreu, Eaton, now Rodón).

Last edited 1 year ago by Joliet Orange Sox

I think the only reason they spent the $3 million on Rodon they did is because of familiarity, and that they were prepared to otherwise stand pat.

I don’t disagree. The money spent on Rodón wasn’t available for other moves.

To Err is Herrmann

To paraphrase Cody Bellinger, the move is…whatever. The owner of the White Sox is…whatever.

Root Cause

No matter how much money Hahn makes, at some point, you have to wonder what is the price of your dignity.

Trooper Galactus

Given Hahn’s probably a millionaire by now, I’d say seven figures and job security would do it for pretty much everybody in our community.

Oddvark

Garrett Richards was signed to a 1/$10M contract. Since 2016 (5 seasons), Rodon has pitched literally twice as many innings as Richards has.

Kluber has only pitched 36 innings since 2018, and he’s a 35-year-old pitcher whose stuff appeared to be declining when he did pitch in 2019. He signed for $11M.

Smyly has pitched more than 114 innings twice in the last six seasons. He had negative WAR and a 6.26 FIP in the 114 innings he did pitch in 2019 (albeit with better numbers in a small sample size in 2020). He also signed for $11M.

I am by no means suggesting that Rodon is worth as much as those guys, but the market shows a willingness to spend money even when there is risk involved, commensurate with upside potential. Rodon has a career 4.14 ERA/4.26 FIP, which definitely has value but which must be discounted by his injury risk.

It’s also worth looking at other pitchers who have signed for around $3M this year: Chatwood, Greg Holland, Loup, Moore, Urena ($3.25), Wacha, and Wood.

Chatwood ($3M): In 3 seasons since he joined the Cubs in 2018, he’s had a 4.70 ERA/4.88 FIP across 199 innings. ZIPS projects him to post similar numbers in 2021 with a 4.91 ERA/4.79 FIP.

Holland ($2.75M): Had a great 2020, but in the two full seasons prior (2018-2019), he was walking batters at more than 6 per 9IP and had a 4.61 ERA/4.23 FIP across 82 innings, which is not good for a reliever. ZIPS projects him to turn in a 4.30 ERA/4.45 FIP in 2021.

Loup ($3M): Has had decent numbers over the past few years, with a 3.57 ERA/3.62 FIP across 68 innings since 2018. And ZIPS projects him for a 3.65 ERA/3.92 FIP in 2021. But he’s a lefty specialist who does not offer any starting pitching depth.

Moore($3M): After pitching to a 5.78 ERA/4.82 FIP across 286 innings from 2017-2019, Moore didn’t sign an MLB contract in 2020 and had to go to Japan for 2020 (where he had a good year against non-MLB caliber competition). ZIPS projects him at a 5.66 ERA/5.38 FIP for 2021. And he too has a notable injury history.

Urena ($3.25M): Urena is a low strikeout guy who had a couple of decent years in 2017-2018, but has a career 4.60 ERA/4.74 FIP since 2015. ZIPS projects a 4.50 ERA/4.81 FIP for him in 2021 (which is significantly more optomistic than the other projection systems on FanGraphs)

Wacha ($3M): After starting his career with a few strong years, since 2016 he’s pitched to a 4.53 ERA/4.35 FIP over 548.2 innings, which drops to a 5.15 ERA/5.54 FIP in his last 160.2 IP in 2019-2020. ZIPS projects 4.71 ERA/4.65 FIP.

Wood ($3M): Like Rodon, Wood is a LHP with an injury history, and they have thrown a similar number of innings over the past 5 years, 412.2 for Wood to 397.1 for Rodon. Wood numbers over that stretch have been pretty good overall — 3.60 ERA/3.69 FIP, but they have dropped off significantly to a 5.96 ERA/6.02 FIP across limited innings (48.1) from 2019-2020. ZIPS projects a 3.75 ERA/3.92 FIP in 2021, another player where ZIPS is again significantly more optomistic than other projection systems.

Rodon seems to fit in reasonably well with this group of $3M-ish pitchers. Even discounting his two best years in 2015-2016, from 2017-2020 he’s had a 4.45 ERA/4.67 FIP across 232 innings (and his FIP from 2019-2020 was 3.85 in 42.1 innings). ZIPS projects him for a 4.68 ERA/4.82 FIP in 2021 (while “THE BAT” projects a more optomistic 4.34 ERA/4.49 FIP).

Ranked by ZIPS-projected FIP for 2021: Wood (3.92), Loup (3.92), Holland (4.45), Wacha (4.65), Chatwood (4.79) Urena (4.81), Rodon (4.82), Moore (5.38). Yes, Rodon is on the bad end here, but basically the same as Chatwood and Urena, and better than Moore.

Ranked by the more-favorable-to-Rodon projected FIP for 2021 by THE BAT: Wood (4.19), Loup (4.23), Holland (4.25), Rodon (4.49), Chatwood (4.85), Wacha (4.99), Urena (5.16), Moore (5.58). Here, Rodon projects right in the middle of the pack, and as the 2nd best starter after Wood.

Overall, I just don’t think there is a factual basis to state that Rodon was grossly overpaid or even paid above market rates at all. For fans who have been disappointed by high expectations that were not met and multiple injuries across the years, it might feel like a bad price, but I believe it was fair and reasonable in comparison to other signings this offseason.

denman

Nicely argued and researched. If it were almost any other team re-signing a pitcher with a injury history such as Rodon has, I would be inclined to presume that the team, given that they know the pitcher better than any other organization, must be thoroughly convinced of the players health and likely return to his best previous form. However, given JR’s sense loyalty and the Sox penchant for reuniting with “old friends”, this current signing likely indicates only that there’s some reason to hope his arm won’t fall off during spring training.

Last edited 1 year ago by denman
LoveLittleLouie

the market shows a willingness to spend money even when there is risk involved, commensurate with upside potential.” Kind of “job one” for GM.

HallofFrank

Agreed. Of course I wish the Sox would spend more, but this is a fine way to spend $3m.

Trooper Galactus

Just to address a couple of these:

Chatwood’s 2018 was horrendous due to an unusual spike in his walk rate. His FIP the last two seasons has been decent, and he’s generally been durable if not necessarily under control.

Richards got, like, twice as much money as I thought he would. At a minimum, I guess you could say that at some point in his career he actually pitched a full season without injury, but I would never have thrown that sort of money at him with his history.

I’m assuming Kluber got paid like he did because multiple teams liked what they saw in his showcase. He was never a big velocity guy, so if his command and secondary offerings are rolling, he can probably work with the 90-91 mph fastball he showed.

Smyly’s been semi-healthy the last two seasons and bounced between a relief and starting role. Again, got about twice the money I thought he would, but he’s provided more recent production that Rodon. Yes, his 2019 was awful, but he was coming off two straight seasons lost to injury. His 2020 results were not substantial, but pretty good.

Wood, Moore, Wacha, Urena…all guys who have, at least at some point, demonstrated the ability to pitch an entire season, even if it was well in the past. Rodon’s just never done it, and has been providing diminishing returns for some time now. I dunno, maybe this is a fair market value for Rodon, but man, it just feels like we’re a few weeks away from reports of tenderness in his shoulder and his debut being pushed back until he becomes the aforementioned “midseason acquisition”.

dongutteridge

Bottom Line: All of us would be shocked if Carlos Rodón both stayed healthy and piched well.

Why sign a guy on that basis? Are you trying to go to the World Series or avoid the cellar?

tommytwonines

I see LaRussa channeling Wilfred Brimley in The Natural when he sees Rodon drag his bones into spring training: Rodon – “I got a contract” LaRussa – “I wanna see it… 3 million dollars they give this guy!” Rodon – “Rick Hahn said he had the authority to sign me if he found something cheap and injury-prone.”