Which team has the inside track on Carlos Rodon?
With Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander now squared away with their new teams, attention around the MLB switches to Carlos Rodon and who will land him
The off season free agency market for starting pitchers was pretty ripe just a few weeks ago, with Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Carlos Rodon all testing out new pastures. Now only Rodon is left unsigned.
There was a ripple of excitement when Verlander joined ex-Tigers team mate Scherzer in New York, and more than one fan who would love to see Rodon join the party. The Mets certainly need another starter in the rotation and Steve Cohen has made clear that he will spend whatever sum is necessary to win, but even so, this may be a bridge too far.
Rodon is reportedly on the lookout for a six-year deal, which would likely be in the $180 million range, if not a shade more, and that would put the Mets, who already have the most expensive payroll in baseball, on course to spend the better chunk out of half-a-billion dollars on their bullpen.
The Rangers are another organization that has been oft-mentioned in the race to ink a deal with the southpaw fastballer, particularly after deGrom’s signing lended credence to Bruce Bochy’s claim that he was in Arlington to win and his focus would be pitching.
Similarly, they will have the issue of total spend coming home to roost, and another hill to climb in that they would have to convince Rodon that the Rangers actually have a chance to win this season. We might call Texas the dark horse if it weren’t for the deGrom deal putting them into a strong postion.
Of course, there are any number of teams who could happily slot Rodon into their rotation, not least of which would be the Astros, who after losing Verlander to the Mets would appreciate a replacement who can throw high heat from the left side.
Los Angeles managed to hang onto Clayton Kershaw in the off season, and are in line to get a decision from MLB on whether Trevor Bauer’s two year ban will be enforced for the entirety of this season or if he may possibly be eligible in June. Whether Bauer can come back or not, they may want to cut their ties with the tainted pitcher and would be looking for a deep starter to join their already-formidable rotation.
Then there are two other teams who are kind of surprising that are in the running. Surprising isn’t the right word, since every team in baseball wants Carlos Rodon, but recent indications are that the Twins and the Yankees are both heavily interested in him, with the Yankees being said to be actively “targeting” him.
The interest that the Yankees are showing seems to be based in the realization that they have a lot of ground to make up on the Astros, who despite losing Verlander, are still the strongest team in the American League, if not all of baseball. Couple this with their desire to keep their new captain Aaron Judge happy, and they may well see Rodon as a worthwhile investment, even a bargain.
Out on the West Coast, the Giants suddenly have a ton of money to spend after losing out in the Aaron Judge negotiations, and could well make a play for him, although the thinking is that the Miami native would prefer to be east of the Mississippi.
If you have to pin down one team in pole position, it looks like the Yankees. But Texas could still be a dark horse.