Could Padres add Carlos Rodon to bolster rotation?

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: Getty Images

Left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon finally stayed healthy over the last two seasons and absolutely dominated lineups, especially for the San Francisco Giants in 2022.

His 2.25 FIP and 11.98 strikeouts per nine innings led all of baseball last year.

The San Diego Padres seemingly do not have a full starting rotation, and the addition of Carlos Rodon could be the final piece to what is already expected to be one of the best groups in the league.

Rodon turns 30 years old on December 10, so he is still considered to be in his prime years.

The southpaw signed a two-year, $44 million contract with the Giants following the 2021 season but opted out into free agency, looking to cash in on another strong year.

The Giants gave Rodon the qualifying offer, which he, of course, declined.

If the Padres were to sign Rodon or any other player who declined the qualifying offer, they would lose $1 million in the international bonus pool for this upcoming signing period and forfeit their second and fifth-highest picks in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Rodon is mostly a two-pitch pitcher, throwing a four-seam fastball and slider almost exclusively. He will mix in a few curveballs and changeups from time to time. But the first two selections are his bread and butter.

Across Rodon’s first six seasons in the majors, his fastball never averaged more than 93.4 mph. However, in each of the last two seasons, Rodon threw harder, averaging 95.4 and then 95.6 mph on his fastball. His fastball with the velocity bump went from his worst pitch to his best pitch. In 2022, it had a run value of 24.

His slider is also a tremendous pitch, averaging 85.5 mph. That pitch has a run value of 8.1, so it is also well above average.

The fastball-slider combo carried Rodon to a 2.88 ERA and 1.028 WHIP in 178 innings, which was a career-high. Combining Rodon with the powerful trio of Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell could make the best rotation in baseball and potentially take some pressure off Nick Martinez at the back end of the group in his return to a starting role.

Carlos Rodon will come with a hefty price tag after betting on his successful 2021 season and improvement in 2022. In addition to the payroll cost, the qualifying offer makes Rodon significantly less attractive to the Padres, who are looking to re-stock its farm system following the 2022 trade deadline, which saw several of its top prospects on the move.

Is adding Rodon as a potential final piece to the rotation worth the price tag, and is the loss in picks and signing money worth it? That is one of the many questions for Padres general manager A.J. Preller to consider at the upcoming Winter Meetings.

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Dominic Stearn on Twitter
Dominic Stearn
Dominic is currently a Senior at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, studying Sports Journalism. He also hosts the "Devils Talking Padres" podcast and is the producer and co-host of the "Padres EVT Podcast.
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