The Top 10 Landing Spots for Giants’ Carlos Rodón in MLB Free Agency | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 16: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees reacts after a strikeout against the Cleveland Guardians during the seventh inning in game four of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 16, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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10. Houston Astros

SP rWAR in 2022: 17.7

Projected 2023 Payroll: $164 Million

The Astros rotation was captained by Justin Verlander, who just won his third Cy Young Award on Wednesday, in 2022. But he’s a free agent now, and the Astros may well have to fill his slot if he departs for cash-ier pastures.

The Astros haven’t done a nine-figure deal in free agency since they signed Carlos Lee in 2006, so them signing Rodón might be a reach. But given the team’s track record with pitchers who possess explosive stuff, it’s a dream worth having for Astros fans.

9. New York Yankees

SP rWAR in 2022: 10.6

Projected 2023 Payroll: $206 Million

The rotation that the Yankees had in 2022 is mostly intact, save for a hole left by Jameson Taillon’s free agency. If they think Nestor Cortes is more of a No. 3 than a No. 2 behind Gerrit Cole, perhaps they’ll endeavor to fill that hole with Rodón.

That would, however, cost them their second- and fifth-highest picks in the 2023 draft and $1 million from their international bonus pool. That’s a steep penalty. And besides, another starter is more of a want than a need relative to re-signing newly minted MVP Aaron Judge.

8. Toronto Blue Jays

SP rWAR in 2022: 8.2

Projected 2023 Payroll: $176 Million

The Blue Jays went into Wednesday with a relatively bloated payroll, but the trade of slugger Teoscar Hernández to the Seattle Mariners cleared a projected $14.1 million salary from their books. That should equal more leeway to fill needs, including that of a starter.

If nothing else, the idea of Rodón being that guy is a fun one. Whether it’s realistic is another matter. What the Blue Jays need is not so much a No. 1 as a No. 3, so they’re perhaps more likely to go big on a left-handed bat and/or relievers with swing-and-miss stuff.

7. Baltimore Orioles

SP rWAR in 2022: 6.3

Projected 2023 Payroll: $41 Million

The Orioles laid the foundation for a contention run with their 83-win effort in 2022, but a No. 1 starter remains their biggest missing piece. So when Jim Bowden of The Athletic says they’re swimming in the “deep end” of the pitching market, it’s believable enough.

As to whether the Orioles will spring for Rodón, there’s room for doubt. Even if they can afford him, the reality that they haven’t yet fully turned the corner into contention might have them spooked about surrendering its third-highest pick in the 2023 draft.

6. Minnesota Twins

SP rWAR in 2022: 5.9

Projected 2023 Payroll: $98 Million

The Twins typically aren’t associated with big spending on the open market, but, hey, it was only in March that they shocked everyone by signing Carlos Correa. Now, the word from ESPN’s Jeff Passan is that they’re likely to go “really big” this winter.

Especially if they can’t re-sign Correa, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Twins targeted Rodón for a big splash. To wit, their starting pitching struggled in 2022 in part because it lacked strikeouts. And for a team in their position, it should be too much to ask that they be willing to part with their third-highest pick in the 2023 draft.