2:20pm: The Yankees have also checked in on Rodon, though they’re seen as a “long shot,” Jon Heyman of the New York Post tweets.
Jayson Stark of The Athletic adds that Rodon’s $22.5MM player option has indeed been a complicating factor in talks to this point, given the aforementioned downside it presents an acquiring club.
1:20pm: The Giants are in discussions with teams about Carlos Rodón, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser suggests they’re not motivated to sell low, however, indicating they’d only accept an offer for “full value.” Slusser lists the Phillies, Twins, and Cardinals as interested parties. At 51-52, the Giants sit 4.5 games out for a wild card spot and have 16.6% playoff odds as calculated by FanGraphs.
Rodon dominated through his first 16 starts last year for the White Sox, but then seemed to wear down and was handled carefully the rest of the year. The White Sox chose not to issue a qualifying offer, and Rodon went into free agency as a high-risk, high-reward pitcher. After the lockout, the Giants gave Rodon a two-year, $44MM deal that allows him to opt out of the remaining $22.5MM for ’23 if he reaches 110 innings, a condition the lefty has already met.
So far, Rodon has silenced any concern about his health, as he’s tossed 123 innings without a dropoff in velocity or production, resulting in his second consecutive All-Star nod. Over his last five starts, Rodon has punched out over 36% of batters faced, whiffing ten in each of his last two.
As with any opt-out clause, Rodon will exercise it if he thinks he can top the remaining $22.5MM. Barring a significant injury, it seems likely Rodon will indeed explore free agency again unless he’s extended by a new team. The Mariners and Yankees, respectively, have landed the top two starters on the trade market in Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas. Back-end options Jose Quintana and Jake Odorizzi are off the board as well.
A healthy Rodon is a potential Game 1 or 2 playoff starter, and can impact a playoff race. However, he is owed over $7.5MM for the remainder of the season, plus the downside risk of his opt-out clause and the chance of a repeat of last year’s late fade. He’ll need a suitor with financial flexibility and tolerance for risk. If the Giants don’t find an offer to their liking, they can still tender a qualifying offer to Rodon after the season.