Rodón, White Sox agree on 1-year deal

February 1st, 2021

CHICAGO -- It was an especially celebratory and eventful Saturday for .

The 28-year-old announced on Instagram the birth of his second child, a son, with his wife, Ashley. In another piece of good news, Rodón will be returning to the White Sox after agreeing to a one-year, $3 million deal on Monday.

In a corresponding move, the club designated right-hander Emilio Vargas for assignment. The 40-man roster stays at 40.

Rodón was non-tendered by the White Sox in December after posting an 8.22 ERA over four appearances during the abbreviated 2020 season. He figures to compete for the fifth-starter’s spot with Reynaldo López behind Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn and Dylan Cease, with Michael Kopech opening the campaign in the Minors.

Kopech has not pitched in the Majors since Sept. 5, 2018, dealing with Tommy John surgery and the ensuing rehab and then electing not to pitch last season. Rodón also could work into the bullpen mix, especially if the White Sox elect to start Garrett Crochet in the Minors at the outset of ‘21.

In two starts last season, on July 28 at Cleveland and at Milwaukee on Aug. 3, Rodón was unable to get through four innings in both of them. That second start was cut short by a shoulder issue, with Rodón also dealing with back soreness before returning on Sept. 24. Rodón worked out of the bullpen, entering in the seventh inning of a game at Cleveland on that same day with the bases loaded, two outs and the White Sox leading, 4-1, only to allow Cesar Hernandez’s two-run single and José Ramírez’s two-run double to score four.

The team’s top pick in the 2014 Draft at No. 3 overall debuted in 2015, but his 3.75 ERA over 26 games and 23 starts in ’15 marked the lone sub-4.00 ERA of his six years with the White Sox. The 2016 season was the best for Rodón, finishing with a 9-10 record, a 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts over a career-high 165 innings and a career-high 28 starts.

His lone Opening Day start came on March 28, 2019, at Kansas City, as he became the seventh homegrown pitcher to start a season opener for the White Sox since 1991. But injuries were the biggest issue for Rodón, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2019 after undergoing shoulder surgery on Sept. 27, 2017. He has pitched just 42 1/3 innings combined over the past two seasons.

When healthy, Rodón possesses a fastball capable of hitting the upper 90s and a wipeout slider. He also will be working with Ethan Katz, the White Sox new pitching coach, for the first time.