GLENDALE, AZ – Sitting down with Carlos Rodón during spring training last year, he was a little older and a little wiser after the White Sox non-tendered him that winter, before eventually bringing him back on a 1-year, $3 million prove-it deal for 2021.
“Being non-tendered sucked. I was pissed. I wasn’t very happy. It gave me that motivation to work a little harder, which is good. A little slap in the face,” Rodón said on the White Sox Talk Podcast. “Then the Sox called back. They said they wanted me. I had two voices in my head. I was like, no, F-that. I don’t want to go back to the White Sox to be honest with you. I felt disrespected.”
But then Rodón, who pitched only 7.2 innings during an injury-plagued pandemic season in 2020, and not particularly well (0-2 with an 8.22 ERA), realized that the White Sox were giving him a much-needed opportunity.
“You mature a lot, you finally get to the age of 28 and closer to 30. You’re like, ‘Hold on, take a step back, look at the situation and look at what this can bring you. What can you do for the club? What can the club do for you and go from there.’ Fortunately, the decision for me was hard to say no,” Rodón said.
Tough to fathom right now, but Rodón arrived at spring training last year battling it out with Reynaldo Lopez for the 5th and final spot in the White Sox rotation.
Who could have predicted what came next?
A no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in April.
His very first All-Star appearance in July.
A fifth-place finish for the AL Cy Young.
And now, a two-year, $44 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, agreed to on Friday. Rodón will receive $21.5 million this season and $22.5 million in 2023, which includes an opt-out after the first season.
Not a bad raise.
After Rodón went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA in 2021, the White Sox chose not to give him an $18.4 million qualifying offer after the season. Throwing only 41 innings the previous two years, his body wasn’t used to the increased workload and it showed down the stretch. He spent some time on the injured list with shoulder fatigue, and made only 8 starts after July 24, not lasting more than 5 innings in any of them. His velocity dropped, and he struggled in his start against the Astros in the ALDS, giving up 2 runs in 2.2 innings.
With Michael Kopech moving from the bullpen to the rotation this year, the White Sox had to make a decision with Rodón, a free agent who would likely be searching for a multi-year deal.
When the White Sox didn’t extend him the qualifying offer, it brought up questions about his health and stamina for 2022 and beyond.
Considering his injury history and physical struggles at the end of the season, would a team give him the multiple years and money he was looking for?
The answer turned out to be yes. The Giants made Rodón the first free agent to agree to a deal after the lockout.
“If I didn’t believe in myself, I wouldn’t be playing this game right now,” Rodón said last spring.
He believed in himself and bet on himself.
He’s San Francisco bound.