Thursday Thought: The Mets should make Carlos Rodon a priority this winter

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The New York Mets have turned their focus to the offseason with plenty of decisions to make. Steve Cohen has already made it clear that he will spend money this winter, which is important given the number of moves the Mets will need to make.

The biggest priority this winter is the starting rotation. Only one slot is filled in 2023, and that is Max Scherzer. deGrom plans to opt out of his contract, Chris Bassitt has a mutual option that he is likely to turn down after a good year, Taijuan Walker has a player option that he will also likely turn down after his good year, and Carlos Carrasco has a team option that could be picked up.

With all that talent potentially leaving, the New York Mets need to pursue the best controllable arm on the market: Carlos Rodon.

Rodon is coming off of an elite season with the San Francisco Giants. He made 31 starts and pitched 178 innings. He allowed just 131 hits, 57 earned runs, 52 walks, and struck out 237 batters. His ERA was 2.88, his FIP was an MLB-best 2.25, his WHIP was 1.03, and his ERA+ was 140. He also led MLB with 12 K/9. Rodon is all but guaranteed to opt out of his contract after the stellar season he had.

The southpaw has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since 2019. Over those last four seasons, he owns a 3.03 ERA, 139 ERA+, 1.05 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, and a K/BB ratio of 4.39. He has also vastly improved his command over that span, lowering his BB/9 from 4.4 in 2019 to 3.5 in 2020 and down to 2.4 and 2.6 in 2021 and 2022, respectively. 

Injuries were a concern for him in 2019 and 2020, but that seems to be in his rearview mirror after making 24 starts in 2021 and 31 in 2022. He was 5th in Cy Young voting in 2021, and he should be in roughly the same spot for his efforts in 2022.

I think it’s likely that Carrasco’s option gets picked up, but that still leaves three rotation spots open. Yes, the Mets are going to try hard to re-sign deGrom. But if he leaves, Rodon would be a fantastic successor. If he stays, Rodon would essentially be an upgrade over Bassitt. Rodon turns 30 in December, so he is a younger, more controllable option than most of the starters available in free agency, which is a pretty shallow position this winter. 

The Mets have plenty of decisions to make here. It will be fascinating to see what they do, and I think Carlos Rodon would look fantastic in blue and orange for the next few years.

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