4 star free agents Dodgers can sign when lockout ends
By Adam Weinrib
2. Carlos Rodon
In a best-case scenario, the 2022 Dodgers will roll into the season with a rotation that feels half-patched.
And this is for a team that entered 2021 with what people were calling a “world historic” rotation. Their $40 million AAV No. 3 starter will not be returning; he’s no longer a guy. Their real co-ace? He didn’t quite net $40 million, but he too has gone to the Mets. Clayton Kershaw is sitting and waiting by the phone for Andrew Friedman’s call … we think. Dustin May could be back by August … we hope. Tony Gonsolin might be half-baked, and David Price seems to be on the back end of his career. Josiah Gray got us two months of the newest Met. Things are bleaker than they’ve ever been behind Buehler and Urías.
Enter … well, someone. The Dodgers hope they can turn around Andrew Heaney, but if he’s your No. 3 starter by season’s end, either he took a swig of Robbie Ray Juice, or the team’s in big trouble. It would make all the sense in the world for LA to target the highest-upside play left in the rotation market, in that case, and try to overwhelm Carlos Rodon on a short-term, high-AAV deal.
Considering Rodon could’ve benefitted from the type of second-half rest Max Scherzer recently complained about, perhaps he and the Dodgers coaching staff are a perfect match.
Rodon started the 2021 season blazing, throwing harder than ever before and buckling knees consistently while the rest of the baseball world waited for the other shoe to drop. Unfortunately, it did, and by August and September, the sudden superstar was on a serious pitch count in hopes he’d be ready for an October run. None of his troubles prevented his final numbers from being overwhelmingly impressive. 5.0 WAR? 185 Ks in 132.2 innings pitched? An 0.957 WHIP? The White Sox took a chance on their former top prospect because they believed in him, and got an historic bargain.
The Dodgers? They won’t be so lucky, and he’s far from a sure thing to throw over 160+ innings. If Heaney’s worth a try, though, so is Rodon.