The San Francisco Giants struck gold in free agency this offseason, taking a chance on Carlós Rodon. While Rodón is dominating on the mound, San Francisco finds itself pondering whether it should be buyers or sellers at the MLB trade deadline.
Rodon triggered the vesting option in his contract by reaching 110 innings pitched this season, giving him a player option this season. Barring an injury, the electric southpaw will decline the one-year deal to become one of the top MLB free agents in 2022-’23.
- Carlos Rodón contract: $21.5 million salary (2022), $22.5M player option (2023)
After finishing atop the MLB standings in 2021, the Giants have taken a significant step back this season. San Francisco entered June with a 27-21 record, poised to be an aggressive buyer. They’ve been a sub-.500 club ever since. With their MLB postseason odds fading and Rodón headed for free agency, a deal becomes possible.
Let’s examine three potential landing spots for a Carlos Rodón trade.
Carlos Rodón traded to Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays are already involved in a pursuit for Luis Castillo, making their intentions clear before the trade deadline. While the trio of Kevin Gausman, Alex Manoah and Josê Berrīos is wrong, there is room to upgrade the rotation as a whole. While Rodón would only be a rental, he could arguably be the ace of Toronto’s pitching staff.
Coming out of the All-Star Break, Rodón held the fifth-highest strikeout rate and placed seventh in CWS rate (30.8%). It puts him in elite company with the likes of Gerrit Cole, Joe Musgrove and Corbin Burnes. He’s also proving to not be a fluke, compiling a 2.63 ERA in his last 242.2 innings.
- San Francisco Giants trade: Carlos Rodón, Tyler Rogers, $3.5 million
- Toronto Blue Jays trade: Danny Jansen, Otto Lopez
This is a price Toronto can afford. Alejandro Kirk is coming off his first All-Star Game appearance and the Blue Jays still have Gabriel Moreno ready for more at-bats. It makes Jansen, a proven MLB catcher under team control through 2024, expendable. Pair him with Otto, providing San Francisco with an above-average second baseman, you have a deal that can benefit both clubs.
Related: MLB trade rumors
St. Louis Cardinals land ace for starting rotation
The St. Louis Cardinals desperately need to improve their starting rotation. If they enter a postseason series with Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikplas and Steven Matz as their top three starters, the Cards won’t last long. With the Cincinnati Reds unlikely to trade Castillo within the division and Montas carrying recent medical red flags, the front office might need to be aggressive.
Rodon is already a dominant pitcher, but there might even be a little room for improvement. San Francisco is one of the worst teams in baseball defensively and that’s not an issue in St. Louis. The Cardinals’ defense could shave a few runs off Rodón’s line in the second half and if he makes the difference in the playoff race, he’ll merit NL Cy Young consideration.
- San Francisco Giants acquire: Ivan Herrera, Zack Thompson
- St. Louis Cardinals acquire: Carlos Rodón, $3 million
Parting ways with Ivan Herrera might prove challenging for the front office. With that said, St. Louis must do something to improve the top of its rotation. Acquiring Rodón is a win-now move that comes with plenty of risks. If it pays off, still leaving St. Louis with the assets to make other deals, a playoff run is possible.
New York Yankees acquire Carlos Rodón
The New York Yankees have been connected to every top starting pitcher available at the deadline. If the Giants decide to listen to Carlos Rodón trade offers, you can bet they will receive a call from New York. Thanks to the Yankees’ prospect depth, a deal is possible.
- New York Yankees trade: Austin Wells, Clarke Schmidt, Domingo Germán, Everson Pereira
- San Francisco Giants trade: Carlos Rodón
At the expense of depth, New York keeps its premium prospects (Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Jasson Dominguez). Germán provides San Francisco with an immediate starter who is under contract through 2024. Clarke Schmidt, once a top pitching prospect, carries durability concerns but the stuff to pitch 140-plus innings is there and the Giants’ track record with pitchers offers more reason for optimism.
On the prospect side, Austin Wells has shown plenty of promise since being selected in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft. Combined with Everson Pereira, the Giants add top-10 prospects to their farm system and solidify their rotation for next year.