On Thursday night, the New York Yankees signed Carlos Rodón to a six-year, $162 million contract. That'll pay the veteran left-hander $27 million per season through his age-35 campaign. What does this have to do with the Los Angeles Dodgers, you ask?
Well, Rodón's agent is Scott Boras, the same man who represents Julio Urías, who is in the final year of his arbitration eligibility with the Dodgers. The left-hander will be a free agent after 2023, and so far there have been no contract extension talks between the two sides (based on what we've heard).
Why is that? First of all, the Dodgers' regime under Andrew Friedman famously doesn't not do business with Boras, who is known to get the absolute top dollar for each and every one of his clients. Urías, entering just his age-26 season in 2023, will be no different. He'll be even more valuable as a 27-year-old free agent, in fact.
But Rodón, who just completed just age-29 season, might've given us a some insight for a potential Urías extension. Urías has better numbers overall, but he's also started 46 fewer games, missed most of 2017 and 2018 due to injuries, and was a reliever for most of 2019.
Will that even matter, though? This is a "what have you done for me lately" market, as evidenced by Rodón securing the bag after back-to-back All-Star campaigns, one of which was shortened due to injury, after six previous years of mediocrity/health issues.
What can Carlos Rodón's contract tell us about Dodgers-Julio Urías dealings?
Assuming Urías has another top-notch showing in 2023, he can expect more. After emerging in 2019, closing out the 2020 World Series, and posting two 30-plus start seasons in 2021 and 2022, he's on track for a $30 million AAV deal.
His two full campaigns as a starter were far from flukes, too. In 2021, he led the NL in wins (20) and finished with a 2.96 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 1.02 WHIP and 195 strikeouts in 185.2 innings (32 starts). In 2022, he finished 17-7, led the NL with a 2.16 ERA, and boasted a 3.71 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, league-leading 194 ERA+ and 166 strikeouts in 31 starts (175 innings).
For comparison, Rodón led the NL in FIP last year (2.25) and strikeouts per nine innings (12) and was arguably the best pitcher in the AL in 2021 before succumbing to left shoulder soreness in August, which clearly played a role in his late July struggles. He finished fifth in the Cy Young voting that season despite making only 24 starts.
You have to figure, with a similar profile and Urías having one more year to build his case, the Dodgers could be looking at doling out an eight-year, $240 million contract if Boras is shooting for the stars, assuming Urías remains the top pitcher in next year's free agent class. The Dodgers might be willing to do that, too, since he'll only be 27 and they need to maintain some sort of semblance of consistency in their rotation moving forward.
If Dodgers fans aren't liking that, then it might be tough to figure out an alternative. David Price landed a seven-year, $217 million contract eight years ago heading into his age-30 season, and that'll more than likely be the standard, even though Price possessed a greater body of work leading up to that deal.
At the very least, here's some guidance on where things might land as early as this season if the Dodgers are willing to talk about an extension, or as late as next November when Urías is free to explore the market.