Here's where the Giants' rotation stands post-Rodón

December 17th, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants lost another big free agent to the Yankees on Thursday, when All-Star left-hander reportedly agreed to a six-year, $162 million deal that will bring an end to his brief, but exceptional, tenure in San Francisco.

In New York, Rodón is poised to team up with slugger Aaron Judge, who opted to stay with the Yankees despite receiving serious interest from the Giants earlier this month. San Francisco will get a firsthand look at the duo during the opening series of its 2023 campaign, which will be played at Yankee Stadium beginning March 30.

Rodón, 30, turned down a one-year, $19.65 million qualifying offer from the Giants at the beginning of the offseason, meaning San Francisco will receive a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Rodón joined the Giants on a two-year, $44 million contract last winter that allowed him to opt out after one season if he pitched at least 110 innings in 2022. He responded by logging a 2.88 ERA with 237 strikeouts over a career-high 178 innings, earning his second consecutive All-Star nod and a sixth-place finish in National League Cy Young Award voting.

After Rodón proved he could stay healthy for a full season, he unsurprisingly elected to re-enter the open market, making him one of the most sought-after free-agent starters this offseason.

The Giants knew it would be difficult to replace Rodón’s dominance, but they’ve steered away from handing out long-term deals to pitchers in recent years. Under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, the longest contract the Giants have granted a free-agent pitcher is the three-year, $36 million deal Anthony DeSclafani signed last offseason. They let another All-Star hurler, Kevin Gausman, walk after he landed a five-year, $110 million deal with the Blue Jays last year.

The odds of a reunion with Rodón seemed to diminish earlier this week after the Giants signed left-hander Sean Manaea and right-hander Ross Stripling to identical two-year, $25 million deals. While neither is as overpowering as Rodón, the Giants hope their aggregate production will help fill the massive hole in their rotation next year.

San Francisco’s starting staff, which led the Majors with a 3.10 FIP in 2022, still figures to be a strength -- particularly given the front office’s attempts to upgrade the defense with the additions of star shortstop Carlos Correa, who reportedly agreed to a blockbuster 13-year, $350 million deal on Tuesday, and outfielder Mitch Haniger.

The Giants have a homegrown ace returning in Logan Webb, who could be an extension candidate this spring after establishing himself as one of the best young starters in the Majors over the past two seasons. Alex Cobb, Alex Wood and DeSclafani will also be back, giving San Francisco six starting candidates, with Jakob Junis likely shifting to a swingman role.

Despite Rodón’s departure, the Giants might not have to wait long for another electric lefty to burst onto the scene in San Francisco. Kyle Harrison, who is ranked the Giants’ No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is viewed as the best left-handed pitching prospect in the Minors and is expected to make his big league debut at some point next year.

Harrison, 21, will open the season at Triple-A Sacramento. But if he continues to put up eye-popping numbers in the Minors, the Giants certainly won’t hesitate to fold him into their rotation mix.