Regardless of what happened in his final start of the year on Friday, Carlos Rodón’s first season with the New York Yankees was going to be a massive disappointment. But with a good outing against the Kansas City Royals, Rodón could have at least headed into the offseason with a good final memory. It didn’t happen.
In fact, Rodón’s final start might have been the worst start that any pitcher had all season.
Rodon faced Kansas City’s No. 8 hitter, catcher Logan Porter, in the first inning. Facing the No. 8 hitter in the first inning is never a good sign. Facing him with nobody out and two on is even worse. With the Yankees already trailing 5-0, manager Aaron Boone finally went out to get his struggling starter. Rodón’s line got even worse after he was pulled, as all three of his inherited runners scored.
"Aaron Boone has seen enough. 35 pitches, still nobody out, five runs in and the bases are loaded. Rodon gives the ball to the manager."
All three inherited runners scored. A nightmare final start to an already dismal 2023 season for Carlos Rodon pic.twitter.com/XCE9RZxAFn
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 30, 2023
Final line on Rodon: 0 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 runs (all earned).
The two-time All-Star finishes his first season with the Yankees with a 6.85 ERA https://t.co/aTlsxd3ZtZ
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 30, 2023
Rodón was an All-Star for the Chicago White Sox in 2021 and against for the San Francisco Giants in 2022. Over the two seasons, he posted a 27-13 record with a 2.67 ERA, 0.998 WHIP and 422 strikeouts in 310.2 innings pitched. He was one of MLB’s best regarded starting pitchers, finishing fifth in American League Cy Young voting in 2021 and sixth in National League voting in 2022.
So, for the Yankees and their fans, signing Rodón brought genuine reason for excitement. And having such a brutal start to conclude such a disappointing season for both Rodon and the Yankees triggered a lot of commentary.
Carlos Rodón faced 8 guys and all 8 reached: an imperfect game.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) September 30, 2023
“What will Carlos Rodon’s career ERA with the Yankees be?” pic.twitter.com/xm9rm5paGl
— Will 🇩🇪 (@WillExists__) September 30, 2023
Yankees P Carlos Rodón faced 8 batters without recording an out in his start against the Royals tonight.
That is the most by a starter without recording an out in MLB since then-Mets P Steven Matz in 2019 (Matz also faced 8 batters) pic.twitter.com/wwPEnrk7xH
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 30, 2023
That Carlos Rodon contract looking good through year one.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) September 30, 2023
Need Rodon to not do this so often next year pic.twitter.com/V0hNUd0qFv
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) September 30, 2023
Some big-money stars struggle their first year in pinstripes but few to the degree of Carlos Rodon
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) September 30, 2023
If there’s any silver lining, it’s this. Neither the Yankees or Royals were playing for anything. So while Friday’s disastrous start will make Rodón’s final numbers for the season look even worse, it didn’t have any impact on a postseason race. That’s the glass is half full perspective.
The glass is half empty perspective is that Friday was the final start in the first year of a six-year, $162 million contract. Not only are there no early outs for either New York or Rodón, but Rodón has a full no-trade clause. So, if the Yankees want to get rid of him, they’ll need his permission first.
Making matters worse is that Rodón will be 31 in December. Even if he bounces back with better seasons than 2023 going forward, pitchers generally don’t keep getting better into their 30s. So, rediscovering his 2021 and 2022 form will be easier said than done.