Giants sign lefty Carlos Rodón to 2-year deal

March 14th, 2022

PHOENIX -- With the lockout lifted, the Giants wasted little time filling the final hole in their starting rotation.

San Francisco announced the signing of All-Star left-hander Carlos Rodón on Monday, adding a frontline starter to pair with budding ace Logan Webb atop the rotation in 2022. Terms were not announced, but it was for two years and $44 million, including an opt-out after the first season, according to's Mark Feinsand.

The Giants have prioritized rebuilding their starting depth this offseason, re-signing Anthony DeSclafani (three years, $36 million) and Alex Wood (two years, $25 million) and adding Alex Cobb (two years, $20 million) to build a talented staff and help make up for the loss of ace Kevin Gausman, who signed a five-year, $110 million deal with the Blue Jays earlier this winter.

They might not be done adding arms, though, especially with the shortened ramp-up to Opening Day on April 8 and the return of nine-inning doubleheaders this year.

“It just feels like an un-pause of the button of where we were on Dec. 2, when we wound up filling three of our four rotation spots,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said before news of Rodón’s signing broke. “We're still looking to add a starting pitcher, still looking at starting pitching depth. We talked a lot about not just looking for a five-man rotation, but a group that can cover us over the 162 games.”

The 2021 season was Rodón's big breakout, something the White Sox had been waiting for since the team drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in 2014. Last season, the 29-year-old left-hander went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 132 2/3 innings for the American League Central champions, while working under Chicago pitching coach Ethan Katz, a former member of manager Gabe Kapler’s coaching staff in San Francisco.

Rodón was a first-time All-Star in '21 and finished fifth in AL Cy Young Award voting, one of four White Sox pitchers to receive votes alongside fellow starters Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito and closer Liam Hendriks.

Among pitchers with at least 130 innings pitched, Rodón led the American League in ERA, strikeouts per nine innings (12.6), strikeout rate (34.6%) and batting average (.189) and slugging percentage (.306) allowed.

Behind Rodón's success was his wipeout fastball-slider combo, which produced 181 strikeouts. Rodón threw harder than ever in 2021 -- his average fastball velocity of 95.4 mph was over a full mph faster than his previous career high of 94.2 mph as a rookie in 2015, and he recorded three strikeouts on 100-plus mph fastballs. And hitters had a batting average of just .107 and a slugging percentage of .126 against his slider, both the lowest of any pitch type with 150 or more plate appearances decided on it.

Despite his success, the White Sox decided not to extend Rodón a qualifying offer for 2022. Rodón did deal with left shoulder soreness and fatigue in the second half, which limited him down the stretch. That adds to a significant injury history -- Rodón pitched only 11 total games from 2019-20 as he came back from Tommy John surgery, and he missed significant time from 2017-18 as he recovered from left shoulder surgery.

In his seven-year career, all spent with Chicago, Rodón is 42-38 in 121 games (116 starts) with 710 strikeouts in 669 1/3 innings.

The Giants have emerged as a desirable landing spot for veteran pitchers in recent years, particularly given their success getting the most out of bounce-back candidates like Gausman, Wood, Drew Pomeranz and Drew Smyly. If their projected starters can stay healthy, they should be well positioned to defend their National League West title in 2022.

In addition to seeking out more pitching depth, Zaidi also hopes to add another bat, though he said he wouldn’t necessarily prioritize a right-handed hitter. The Giants were expected to pursue another impact bat from the right side following the retirement of Buster Posey and the potential departure of free agent Kris Bryant, but Zaidi said he feels the club’s internal options -- which include Austin Slater, Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores -- are “a little bit underrated.”

“We have kind of more options on that side than I think maybe we're being given credit for,” Zaidi said. “While we're still open to adding a bat, I don't think we're going to be totally fixated on that side. If there's a left-handed bat that makes sense for us, I think we can find a way to fit that as well.”

Zaidi said he would prioritize versatility, leaving open the possibility that the Giants could pursue a reunion with Bryant, who came over from the Cubs at last year’s Trade Deadline, but underwhelmed down the stretch. Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki or slugger Nick Castellanos could also be good fits for San Francisco. If the Giants opt for a left-handed bat, they could pursue Kyle Schwarber or former Dodger and Bay Area native Joc Pederson.

Giants CEO Larry Baer said he expects the club to be “pretty aggressive” in filling their remaining holes this spring, particularly given the high expectations that have been set following a 107-win season last year. The Giants are casting a wide net, but they might prefer to put the finishing touches on their roster through free agency rather than trades.

Zaidi noted that the trade market has been slow to develop since teams weren’t allowed to communicate with each other during the lockout.

“It's going to be really tough because trades take time,” Zaidi said. “I think free agency is going to move pretty quickly. It's just not a normal operating procedure for trades to move as quickly, so I think trades are going to be a big challenge. Maybe trades that you would otherwise see in the offseason are not going to happen until teams get into the season and have injuries or the dynamic changes a little bit. So we'll see.”