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Former White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon becomes free agent

by Joe Binder

One former White Sox pitcher has officially become a free agent.

Giants starter Carlos Rodon opted out of his contract on Sunday and entered the open market, per Maria Guardado of MLB.com. Rodon had a player option for $22.5 million in 2023, but after his strong performance this season, he will look to cash out as one of the most sought-after arms.

Rodon picked up where he left off in 2021 and did so in dominating fashion with San Francisco. The 29-year-old, who signed a two-year deal worth up to $44 million, went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA (57 ER/178.0 IP) and led the majors with a 2.25 FIP. He finished second in the National League with 237 strikeouts and hit double-digits 11 times, a Giants’ franchise record. Perhaps most importantly, he made a career-high 31 starts to go with his new record in innings pitched, putting to rest any concerns about his health.

During his White Sox tenure, Rodon showed flashes of the pitcher everyone knew he could be but wasn’t able to harness it consistently until the end. Countless injuries coupled with struggles when healthy summed up much of his career, as he made just 43 appearances with a 4.45 ERA from 2017-2020.

Things eventually clicked and the lefty turned heads with his breakout 2021 campaign. He went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA (35 ER/132.2 IP), 185 strikeouts, 36 walks, 2.65 FIP, and 0.957 WHIP. Impressive numbers aside, Rodon’s season was highlighted by his April 14th no-hitter against Cleveland, first-ever All-Star appearance in July, and a fifth-place finish in the Cy Young voting at the year’s end.

Following the season, the White Sox opted against giving him an $18.4 million qualifying offer in a questionable decision. This led to speculation about Rodon’s health as the veteran pitcher dealt with shoulder fatigue late in the year. However, the Scott Boras client proved to be healthy in 2022, hit the minimum 110 innings by late July to activate his opt-out, and will now reap the rewards.

Rodon hits a market that also includes Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander at the high end. Five to ten years younger than the aforementioned options, Rodon should easily make $100 million-plus as one of the best arms available. The Giants will undoubtedly issue him a qualifying offer, and though he’ll certainly decline, San Francisco will at least receive draft pick compensation if the southpaw decides to take his talents elsewhere.

As moves are made this offseason, we will provide continued coverage here and on social media @SoxOn35th.

Featured Photo: © Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

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