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Signing Cy Younger Award winner Robbie Ray this offseason was a serious accomplishment for the Seattle Mariners. However Seattle desires to succeed in the postseason in 2022 and will nonetheless use one other established arm to raise and stabilize its beginning rotation. Might free agent Carlos Rodón fill that function for the Mariners?

A fast look at Rodón’s 2021 statistics suggests the reply is a powerful “sure.” Nevertheless, numbers are simply part of any participant’s story. That’s definitely the case for the 29-year-old, whose historical past could negatively have an effect on his present market worth. Earlier than stepping into that aspect of Rodón’s profession, let’s first speak about these stats.

Numbers Recreation

Rodón was a top-Three starter in a number of classes in a 12 months that noticed him earn his first All-Star choice and a fifth-place end behind Ray in AL Cy Younger voting. The left-hander additionally threw a no-hitter in his second begin of the season and got here inside two outs of an ideal recreation earlier than hitting Cleveland’s Roberto Perez with a pitch within the ninth inning. Sure, 2021 was good from a numbers standpoint.

Carlos Rodón’s 2021 Stats & MLB Ranks*
2.37 ERA (1st)
34.6 Ok% (2nd)
6.7 BB% (38th)
0.96 WHIP (4th)
0.88 HR/9 (16th)
.189 AVG (third)
.253 OBP (third)
.306 SLG (third)
.247 wOBA (2nd)
.254 xwOBA (third)
4.9 fWAR (eighth)

*Rank amongst 75 pitchers with 130+ innings

Rodón possesses the expertise to lift the ceiling of any membership’s beginning rotation – together with Seattle’s. Not solely that, his season stats in contrast very favorably to the reigning AL Cy Younger winner and latest Mariner. Actually, Rodón was higher than Ray in each class illustrated under except for one.

That lone quantity serves as a purple flag we are able to’t ignore. Rodón’s general stat line may be very spectacular. However the reality he threw considerably fewer innings than Ray is a giant deal. The third general draft choose of 2014 made simply 24 begins as a consequence of well being issues; Ray began 32 contests for Toronto. This brings us to the first concern confronting any membership all in favour of Rodón as a rotation possibility – availability.

Well being Issues

Sadly, misplaced time as a consequence of accidents has been commonplace all through Rodón’s seven-year profession. Making issues worse, he’s undergone shoulder and Tommy John surgical procedures since 2018. Even in 2021 when Rodón was a mid-season Cy Younger favourite, he encountered shoulder-related points.

Because the previous desk illustrates, Chicago positioned Rodón on the 10-day IL final August after which intently managed his workload to protect his postseason availability. However he skilled an alarming drop in common fastball velocity after returning to motion in September. The ultimate four-seam fastball of the NC State product’s April 14 no-hitter was 97.5-MPH. Conversely, his final four-seamer of the common season clocked in at 91.1-MPH.

It is a knowledge level screaming to be observed.

It’s necessary to notice Rodón’s velocity did return to regular within the postseason following 12 days of relaxation. The All-Star made a 56-pitch begin within the ALDS that included 31 four-seamers with a median velocity of 95.8-MPH. Nonetheless, the general outcomes had been disappointing for the southpaw and his group – Chicago misplaced the sport to the Astros by a rating of 10-1 and was eradicated from the postseason.

Carlos Rodón’s ALDS Recreation Four Stats
IP (2.2)
Batters (14)
ER (2)
SO (3)
BB (2)
HBP (1)
H (3)
2B (2)

Rodón’s late-season swoon definitely casts a shadow over his free company. Looking back, his well being historical past probably performed a job in Chicago’s determination to non-tender him after the 2020 marketing campaign, though the group did finally re-sign him to a one-year deal. It’s additionally attainable availability issues motivated the White Sox to forgo making the Qualifying Provide to their All-Star starter after final season.

Having mentioned all that, we shouldn’t overlook the chance that Rodón’s late-2021 troubles had been a consequence of low workloads in latest seasons. In 2019-20, he pitched a grand whole of 42.1 innings – he greater than tripled that tally in 2021. Maybe final 12 months’s shoulder points had been extra fatigue-related than a foreboding signal impending doom.

Rodón’s MiLB & MLB Innings by Season
2014 (24.2)
2015 (149.1)
2016 (168.2)
2017 (86.1)
2018 (138.1)
2019 (34.2)
2020 (7.2)
2021 (132.2)

It’s attainable Rodón considers a one-year deal to dispel any health-related issues. Nevertheless, his agent, Scott Boras, believes his shopper deserves a multi-year deal. Whether or not any membership will agree is unknown, though premium beginning pitching is baseball’s rarest and Most worthy commodity. Organizations have been recognized to often overpay to land a probably elite arm. Perhaps that would be the case with Rodón this offseason.

Dangerous Enterprise

Threat and reward are the operative phrases when discussing Rodón’s contract state of affairs. On one hand, he delivered an ace-like season for many of 2021. But, the lefty’s lengthy damage historical past doesn’t favor him reaching 30 begins in 2022 – his career-high of 28 was set in 2016. That mentioned, 20-25 begins could be all of the Mariners want from Rodón to justify an costly, however brief contract.

Let’s face it, the long-term success of Seattle’s beginning rotation hinges on a pitching-rich farm system. However the group undoubtedly prefers to keep away from disrupting the event of its prime pitching prospects. Rodón’s presence would conceivably assist the group contend in 2022 and stop debuting its younger arms too early this 12 months. For these causes, the Mariners ought to at the least think about pursuing the veteran hurler.

Sure, signing Rodón might go sideways quick and in a giant method. However with no Qualifying Provide hooked up to him, all he would value the Mariners is cash. Not the prospect capital it might take to land starters like Oakland’s Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, and Frankie Montas or Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle, Sonny Grey, and Luis Castillo. Whereas these pitchers are hypothetically extra more likely to final a complete season than Rodón, the identical might’ve been mentioned about Drew Smyly in 2017.

And the way did that work out for the Mariners?

My Oh My…

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Luke Arkins

Luke is a local New Yorker, who grew up as a Mets fan. After the US Navy moved him to the Pacific Northwest in 2009, he determined to make Seattle his dwelling.

In 2014, Luke joined the Prospect Insider group. Throughout baseball season, he can typically be discovered observing the native group at T-Cellular Park.

You’ll be able to comply with Luke on Twitter @luke_arkins

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