I’ll admit, there is always some chance that a player that was non-tendered can secure a deal back with the team that originally sent them packing, but it seems pretty rare. That’s why when I saw this news come across the ole twitter machine, I was taken aback a bit.
Way back in the year of 2020, specifically in late October, I expressed my thoughts on the potential for a Carlos Rodon reunion. The excerpt below is from before he was non-tendered by the team. Take a listen….
At the very end of that audio clip, I note that I have Rodon scars, I know you do too. Just to reinforce the point, let’s drop his career numbers here and remind ourselves why the former #3 overall pick is getting a $3M show-me deal.
It’s been a bumpy ride!! Even through all of the ups and downs and the disappointment of expectations clashing violently with reality. Not to mention the injuries….whoa the injuries, Rodon’s ERA+, which is a metric that measures pitchers against each other using league run environment and park effects (ie some parks are tougher or easier to score runs in) has been solidly league average at 100.
Rodon’s performance, some substantial chunks of it under duress or battling back from injuries are why I thought he might be a worthwhile gamble. Below is a table that I also cut from Baseball-Reference‘s Stathead module. You have to pay to use Stathead, but if you are making content it is worth it imo. Here’s what I would deem similar pitchers to Rodon, given his light inning load across quite a few years due to injury and his general league-averageness.
Lots of familiar names, a bunch of them looking like low end options in this free agent market. That’s kinda what I thought when I was shooting from the hip back in October.
What I don’t see in that table is anyone that’s turned back into a star, despite potentially having that pedigree and this is where I think we need to adjust our thinking. The 2021 White Sox need guys to make some starts. They aren’t trying to “shoot the moon” with this Rodon signing, what they are trying to do (in my humble opinion) is spread their risk across a handful of arms to get 20 ish starts in 2021. Lopez at $2M, Rodon at $3M and probably a Non-Roster Invitee to spring training is their way of spreading risk for doing what they think a similar type of free agent pitcher would’ve done and cost out there in the market.
As much as I love and trust these two guys opinions on White Sox things, when evaluating this signing imo, ignore stuff like this….
And like this
Because we are just too fragile with Rodon scars. If we think about his sky high upside of yesteryear, we will get hurt, AGAIN. Think of him as any other low end options that the White Sox could buy and re-adjust your thinking to “IF THIS GUY MAKES 10-12 STARTS, HE’S DONE HIS JOB“. Don’t expect him to become the guy drafted top 3, just 1/3 or 1/2 of a season of competent, league average starts and Carlos Rodon has more than done his job. He can do that, right? I think so.