CARLSBAD, Calif. — Major league agent Scott Boras had two words for the Chicago White Sox when asked for his reaction to the club not offering his client Carlos Rodón a qualifying offer.
“Thank you,” Boras said Wednesday, in his annual GM meetings press conference.
Then he unleashed one of his infamous metaphors.
“When you think about sculpting a pitching staff, your Thinking Man,” Boras said, referencing Auguste Rodin’s bronze sculpture, The Thinker, “the target without a doubt is Rodón.”
A one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer ended up being a non-starter for both parties, it seems. Boras said he and Rodón were pursuing a multi-year deal “and weren’t going to sign a one-year contract.”
The two parties have remained in contact, however, about a potential reunion ahead of the 2022 season.
“We have not ruled out him returning,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said this week. “He knows that, Scott knows that. We’ll see how his market unfolds and what the options are for us over the coming months.
“He was outstanding for us, and not offering the QO, that specific contract was not offered to him. Doesn’t mean we’re not interested in potentially finding a way to bring him back.”
Rodón has spent his whole career with the White Sox, since they selected him No. 3 overall in the 2014 Draft. After injury-plagued 2019 and 2020 seasons, Rodón bounced back with his first All-Star selection in 2021.
The lefty posted a career-best 2.37 ERA, even after dealing with shoulder soreness and fatigue late in the year. He’d jumped from throwing fewer than 45 innings in the 2019 and 2020 regular seasons combined, to tossing almost 135 innings this past season.
“We can’t evaluate pitchers this year on annual performances,” Boras said of the transition from a 60-game 2020 season to a full schedule this year. “There were a few veterans where it didn’t affect as much, but most pitchers, the minute they jumped form 70 innings, all of a sudden you saw erratic performances. And Carlos, he went from zero to 120 and was extraordinary. And after that, he was just fatigued.”
Indeed, Rodón’s numbers were most impressive in the first three months of the season. He carried a sub-2.00 ERA through most of June, when he’d thrown about 75 innings. He recorded a no-hitter in his second start of the season.
“I think teams are understanding that,” Boras said of the innings jump, “and looking at (pitchers) for what their ceiling was within the time frame and knowing that now that they have this foundation built for ’21, they can advance into that 150, 160 range in ‘22.”
Boras praised the White Sox for their use of Rodón down the stretch, when they built in extra time between starts to preserve his availability for the postseason. Rodón also spent a couple weeks on the IL in August, managing his shoulder fatigue. But Boras insisted that “there was never anything physically wring with Carlos.”
Boras doubled down when asked if he expected Rodón’s velocity to return. The southpaw’s fastball averaged 95 mph this season, but its velocity steadily dropped in his last three starts.
Boras pointed to Rodón’s playoff start, when he touched 99 mph in front of a raucous home-field crowd.
“These are things where rest showed you that the potentials of Carlos are exactly what they were throughout the majority of the season,” Boras said.
When asked specifically about a potential reunion for Rodón and the White Sox, Boras, too, left open the possibility.
“We’re listening to all teams,” he said, “and certainly the White Sox are a part of that.”