Carlos Rodon was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2021 and 2022, and he parlayed that success into a massive free agent contract with the Yankees. Things went immediately wrong in 2023, but he's off to a much better start in 2024, as the veteran has a 1.72 ERA over his first three starts after striking out six against the Marlins Tuesday night. 

So, he's back, right?

Eh, not so much. When he's been at his best, Rodon has dominated with an unhittable fastball that generated both tons of whiffs and weak contact, and with a slider that was even better. And neither pitch really looks like it's at that level right now.

The fastball velocity is right around where it was in 2021 and 2022, and the movement profile looks mostly the same, so I'm actually a bit less concerned with that pitch right now, despite mostly middling results to date. He's gotten a whiff on just 18.2% of swings against it after living in the 28-29% range at his best, and he's gotten hit awfully hard with it too, allowing a 91.7 mph average exit velocity and .380 expected wOBA on the pitch; in 2022, he allowed an 89.9 mph average exit velocity and .277 xwOBA with his four-seamer, so that represents significant regression. But, with the velocity and movement looking mostly the same, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect some improvement with that pitch moving forward.

The slider, though, looks like a significant problem at this point. That has been Rodon's signature pitch going back to college, and in 2021 and 2022, it was one of the best pitches in baseball; among 600 individual pitch types that ended at least 100 PA in 2021, Rodon's slider and four-seamer were both in the 90th percentile or better in BaseballSavant's run value metric. He allowed an expected wOBA of just .159 on the slider, while picking up a 40.6% whiff rate, something only three pitchers bested in both categories. 

And that pitch just has not been there for him so far. He's still generating a bunch of weak contact on it, with an 80.6 mph average exit velocity and .244 xwOBA, but his whiff rate has collapsed to just 25%. In Tuesday's start against the Marlins, he threw the slider just 17% of the time and got a single measly whiff with the pitch.

Now, you could look at it optimistically if you want: Rodon is still pitching well without his best pitch, so what happens if he rediscovers it? Why, he could take off like a rocket ship, couldn't he? After all, he's responded by throwing his changeup more and emphasizing a new cutter, and if he rediscovers the slider and suddenly has a four-pitch mix, couldn't he be just as effective as ever? 

The problem here is, I wonder if the cutter might be part of the reason the slider isn't as effective. While Rodon's velocity was down across the board on Tuesday night, his slider velocity was actually up slightly from 2023, and he was getting less movement with the pitch, losing four insides of horizontal break and one inch of vertical break; which is to say, his slider maybe looks a little more like a cutter, perhaps? The introduction of the cutter has given Rodon another option to attack hitters with, but it might be a self-defeating pitch if it is causing his slider to lose effectiveness.

That's just conjecture on my part, and it's not necessarily an unfixable issue. But it's a pretty big red flag for me, and you can see it in Rodon's below-the-hood numbers. His strikeout rate is down to 18.8%, his walk rate is up to 10.1%, and his expected ERA is 4.42. That's a big improvement over last season's 5.34 mark, obviously, but he still looks like a much-diminished version of the guy we saw back in 2021 and 2022.

And I'm not sure I see much reason to think he can get back to that level at this point. A flip could switch overnight that sees Rodon rediscover his slider, but the pitch just doesn't look as sharp as it used to, and I'm not sure this new cutter nor a new focus on the changeup is likely to make up the gap there. 

Rodon is a top-40 pitcher for me, but he might be viewed a lot more highly by someone in your league, and I'd be actively trying to trade him right now. One offer I'd look into is sending Rodon to the team with Jared Jones and seeing if I could get a slow-starting hitter thrown in on top of that; a Vinnie Pasquantino or Xander Bogaerts type. Or, maybe see if you could ship Rodon out straight up for someone like Francisco Lindor

You might regret it. Rodon might rediscover the form that once made him a Cy Young contender. But he hasn't looked like that guy in an awfully long time, and I don't see much reason to assume he's going to get there at this point. Selling Rodon right now might be your best way to take advantage of his hot start. 

H2H Trade Values Chart

1Ronald Acuna54OF
2Mookie Betts422B-OF-SS
3Juan Soto41OF
4Freddie Freeman381B
5Fernando Tatis38OF
6Corbin Carroll36OF
7Aaron Judge34DH-OF
8Kyle Tucker34OF
9Jose Ramirez343B-DH
10Yordan Alvarez34DH-OF
11Julio Rodriguez33OF
12Bobby Witt33SS
13Shohei Ohtani33DH-SP
14Matt Olson331B
15Bryce Harper331B-DH
16Corbin Burnes30SP
17Corey Seager30SS
18Trea Turner29SS
19Pete Alonso291B
20Marcus Semien282B
21Francisco Lindor28SS
22Vladimir Guerrero271B-DH
23Austin Riley263B
24Rafael Devers263B
25Jose Altuve262B
26Gunnar Henderson253B-SS
27Zack Wheeler24SP
28Kevin Gausman23SP
29Luis Castillo23SP
30Pablo Lopez23SP
31Tarik Skubal23SP
32Zac Gallen23SP
33Ozzie Albies232B
34George Kirby23SP
35Bo Bichette23SS
36Logan Webb22SP
37Alex Bregman213B
38Elly De La Cruz213B-SS
39Logan Gilbert21SP
40C.J. Abrams21SS
41Yoshinobu Yamamoto21SP
42Aaron Nola21SP
43Tyler Glasnow21SP
44Cole Ragans21RP-SP
45Nico Hoerner202B-SS
46Randy Arozarena20OF
47Luis Robert20OF
48Mike Trout20OF
49Zach Eflin20SP
50Michael Harris20OF
51Christian Yelich19DH-OF
52Adolis Garcia18OF
53Kyle Schwarber18DH-OF
54Max Fried18SP
55Cody Bellinger181B-OF
56Oneil Cruz18SS
57Manny Machado153B-DH
58Nolan Jones15OF
59Bryan Reynolds15OF
60Grayson Rodriguez15SP
61Jazz Chisholm15OF
62Blake Snell15SP
63Jesus Luzardo15SP
64Edwin Diaz15RP
65Paul Goldschmidt151B-DH
66Christian Walker151B
67Adley Rutschman15C-DH
68Freddy Peralta15SP
69Josh Hader15RP
70Bobby Miller15SP
71Triston Casas151B
72Ketel Marte152B
73Emmanuel Clase15RP
74Yandy Diaz151B
75Joe Musgrove15SP
76Tanner Bibee15SP
77Dylan Cease15SP
78Seiya Suzuki15OF
79William Contreras15C-DH
80Framber Valdez15SP
81Will Smith15C
82Nolan Arenado153B
83J.T. Realmuto15C
84Nick Castellanos15OF
85Wyatt Langford15DH-OF
86Max Muncy153B
87Riley Greene15OF
88Xander Bogaerts152B-SS
89George Springer15DH-OF
90Camilo Doval15RP
91Josh Naylor151B-DH
92Chris Bassitt15SP
93Sonny Gray15SP
94Raisel Iglesias15RP
95Yainer Diaz15C-DH
96Gleyber Torres152B
97Andres Gimenez152B
98Ha-seong Kim152B-3B-SS
99Bryson Stott152B
100Spencer Torkelson151B
101Jose Berrios15SP
102Anthony Santander15DH-OF
103Ian Happ15OF
104Evan Carter15OF
105Chris Sale15SP
106Shane Bieber15SP
107Justin Steele15SP
108Jordan Walker15OF
109Alexis Diaz14RP
110Dansby Swanson14SS
111Spencer Steer141B-3B-OF
112Bailey Ober14SP
113Merrill Kelly13SP
114Jackson Chourio13OF
115Ke'Bryan Hayes133B
116Vinnie Pasquantino131B
117Andres Munoz13RP
118Jarren Duran13OF
119Carlos Rodon13SP
120Ryan Helsley13RP
121Marcell Ozuna13DH
122Jordan Romano13RP
123David Bednar13RP
124Teoscar Hernandez13DH-OF
125Christian Encarnacion-Strand121B-DH
126Joe Ryan12SP
127Pete Fairbanks11RP
128Evan Phillips10RP
129Steven Kwan9OF
130Jorge Soler9DH-OF
131Hunter Greene8SP
132Walker Buehler8SP
133Gerrit Cole8SP
134Kodai Senga8SP
135Gavin Williams8SP
136Anthony Volpe8DH-OF
137Mitch Keller8SP
138Garrett Crochet8RP
139Luis Arraez82B
140Shota Imanaga7SP
141Clay Holmes7RP
142Justin Verlander7SP
143Jordan Montgomery7SP
144Jake Burger71B-3B-DH
145Brandon Nimmo7OF
146Willson Contreras7C-DH
147Francisco Alvarez7C
148Thairo Estrada72B-SS
149Adbert Alzolay7RP
150Kenley Jansen7RP
151Zack Gelof72B
152Cal Raleigh7C
153Salvador Perez71B-C-DH
154Abner Uribe7RP
155Jhoan Duran7RP
156Craig Kimbrel7RP
157Yu Darvish7SP
158Willy Adames7SS
159Mitch Garver7C-DH
160Rhys Hoskins71B
161Cristian Javier7SP
162Jack Flaherty7SP
163Masataka Yoshida7DH-OF
164Jonathan India72B
165Alec Bohm71B-3B
166Henry Davis7C-OF
167Bryce Miller6SP
168Michael King6RP-SP
169Joshua Lowe6SS
170Logan O'Hoppe6C
171Hunter Brown6SP
172Gabriel Moreno6C
173Bo Naylor6C
174Keibert Ruiz6C
175Jordan Hicks6RP
176Aaron Civale6SP
177Paul Sewald6RP
178Isaac Paredes51B-3B
179Tanner Scott5RP
180Jung-Hoo Lee5OF
181Spencer Strider5SP
182James Outman5OF
183Cedric Mullins5OF
184Chas McCormick5OF
185Nathan Eovaldi5SP
186Byron Buxton5DH-OF
187Nolan Gorman52B-DH
188Edouard Julien52B-DH
189Bryan Woo4SP
190Nick Pivetta4RP-SP
191Ezequiel Tovar4SS
192Jose Leclerc4RP
193Zack Littell4RP-SP
194Brandon Pfaadt4SP
195Gavin Stone4SP
196Eloy Jimenez4DH
197Garrett Whitlock4RP-SP
198Yusei Kikuchi3SP
199Lane Thomas3OF
200Maikel Garcia33B
201Tanner Houck3SP
202Jonah Heim3C
203Ryan Pepiot3RP
204Taylor Ward3OF
205Carlos Correa3SS
206Nick Lodolo3SP
207J.P. Crawford3SS
208Charlie Morton3SP
209Eduardo Rodriguez3SP
210Tyler O'Neill3OF
211Jackson Merrill3OF-SS
212Max Scherzer3SP
213Christopher Morel33B-DH-OF
214Daulton Varsho3OF
215Jose Alvarado3RP
216Jared Jones3SP
217Reid Detmers3SP
218Jeremy Pena3SS
219Brandon Lowe32B
220Josh Bell31B-DH
221Kerry Carpenter3DH-OF

Roto Trade Values Chart

1Ronald Acuna55OF
2Julio Rodriguez42OF
3Bobby Witt41SS
4Mookie Betts392B-OF-SS
5Fernando Tatis38OF
6Corbin Carroll37OF
7Freddie Freeman341B
8Kyle Tucker34OF
9Juan Soto34OF
10Trea Turner34SS
11Shohei Ohtani33DH-SP
12Jose Ramirez333B-DH
13Yordan Alvarez33DH-OF
14Aaron Judge33DH-OF
15Matt Olson301B
16Corbin Burnes30SP
17Bryce Harper291B-DH
18Austin Riley293B
19Rafael Devers293B
20Pete Alonso281B
21Francisco Lindor28SS
22Ozzie Albies272B
23Marcus Semien262B
24Zack Wheeler26SP
25Vladimir Guerrero261B-DH
26Gunnar Henderson253B-SS
27Elly De La Cruz253B-SS
28Corey Seager25SS
29Jose Altuve252B
30Luis Robert24OF
31Luis Castillo24SP
32Kevin Gausman24SP
33Pablo Lopez24SP
34Bo Bichette23SS
35Michael Harris23OF
36Randy Arozarena22OF
37Adolis Garcia22OF
38Tarik Skubal22SP
39Yoshinobu Yamamoto22SP
40Zac Gallen22SP
41C.J. Abrams21SS
42Tyler Glasnow21SP
43Nico Hoerner212B-SS
44George Kirby21SP
45Logan Gilbert20SP
46Nolan Jones20OF
47Logan Webb20SP
48Jazz Chisholm20OF
49Mike Trout20OF
50Aaron Nola18SP
51Max Fried18SP
52Christian Yelich18DH-OF
53Kyle Schwarber18DH-OF
54Oneil Cruz18SS
55Edwin Diaz18RP
56Josh Hader18RP
57Zach Eflin17SP
58Adley Rutschman17C-DH
59Cole Ragans17RP-SP
60Alex Bregman173B
61Emmanuel Clase17RP
62Bryan Reynolds17OF
63William Contreras17C-DH
64Manny Machado163B-DH
65Camilo Doval16RP
66Freddy Peralta16SP
67Grayson Rodriguez16SP
68Paul Goldschmidt161B-DH
69J.T. Realmuto16C
70Gleyber Torres162B
71Cody Bellinger161B-OF
72Christian Walker161B
73Nolan Arenado163B
74Will Smith16C
75Jesus Luzardo16SP
76Raisel Iglesias16RP
77Bobby Miller15SP
78Seiya Suzuki15OF
79Nick Castellanos15OF
80Ketel Marte152B
81Triston Casas151B
82Ha-seong Kim152B-3B-SS
83Xander Bogaerts152B-SS
84Riley Greene15OF
85Bryson Stott152B
86Blake Snell14SP
87Dylan Cease14SP
88Tanner Bibee14SP
89Andres Gimenez142B
90Yainer Diaz14C-DH
91Josh Naylor141B-DH
92Spencer Torkelson141B
93Yandy Diaz141B
94George Springer14DH-OF
95Andres Munoz14RP
96Framber Valdez14SP
97Joe Musgrove14SP
98Jordan Walker14OF
99Dansby Swanson14SS
100Jackson Chourio14OF
101Wyatt Langford14DH-OF
102Evan Carter14OF
103Alexis Diaz14RP
104Pete Fairbanks14RP
105Spencer Steer141B-3B-OF
106Teoscar Hernandez14DH-OF
107Jarren Duran13OF
108Ryan Helsley13RP
109Chris Sale13SP
110Evan Phillips13RP
111Cal Raleigh13C
112Clay Holmes13RP
113Christian Encarnacion-Strand131B-DH
114Marcell Ozuna13DH
115Kenley Jansen13RP
116Vinnie Pasquantino131B
117Ian Happ13OF
118Willson Contreras13C-DH
119Joe Ryan13SP
120Hunter Greene13SP
121Chris Bassitt12SP
122Jake Burger111B-3B-DH
123David Bednar11RP
124Ke'Bryan Hayes103B
125Bailey Ober10SP
126Justin Steele9SP
127Jorge Soler9DH-OF
128Anthony Santander9DH-OF
129Abner Uribe9RP
130Adbert Alzolay9RP
131Francisco Alvarez9C
132Mitch Garver9C-DH
133Rhys Hoskins91B
134Luis Arraez92B
135Justin Verlander9SP
136Walker Buehler8SP
137Jordan Romano8RP
138Sonny Gray8SP
139Carlos Rodon8SP
140Gerrit Cole7SP
141Kodai Senga7SP
142Anthony Volpe7SS
143Shota Imanaga7SP
144Merrill Kelly7SP
145Zack Gelof72B
146Thairo Estrada72B-SS
147Willy Adames7SS
148Logan O'Hoppe7C
149Salvador Perez71B-C-DH
150Joshua Lowe7DH-OF
151Max Muncy73B
152Isaac Paredes71B-3B
153Alec Bohm71B-3B
154Gabriel Moreno7C
155Craig Kimbrel7RP
156Brandon Nimmo7OF
157Garrett Crochet7RP
158Steven Kwan7OF
159Chas McCormick7OF
160Mitch Keller7SP
161Masataka Yoshida7DH-OF
162Henry Davis7C-OF
163Tanner Scott7RP
164Jose Berrios7SP
165Cedric Mullins7OF
166Tyler O'Neill7OF
167Jordan Montgomery6SP
168Daulton Varsho6OF
169Nolan Gorman62B-DH
170Yu Darvish6SP
171Aaron Civale6SP
172Cristian Javier6SP
173Keibert Ruiz6C
174Eloy Jimenez6DH
175Jonah Heim6C
176Byron Buxton6DH-OF
177Gavin Williams6SP
178Lane Thomas5OF
179Bo Naylor5C
180Christopher Morel53B-DH-OF
181Bryce Miller5SP
182Jhoan Duran5RP
183Jonathan India52B
184James Outman5OF
185Hunter Brown5SP
186Jack Flaherty5SP
187Nathan Eovaldi5SP
188Jose Alvarado5RP
189Kerry Carpenter4DH-OF
190Taylor Ward4OF
191Jackson Merrill4OF-SS
192Brice Turang42B-SS
193Carlos Correa4SS
194Jung-Hoo Lee4OF
195Jose Leclerc4RP
196J.D. Martinez4DH
197Paul Sewald4RP
198Michael King3RP-SP
199Nick Pivetta3RP-SP
200Tanner Houck3SP
201Victor Scott II3OF
202Jason Foley3RP
203Lars Nootbaar3OF
204Maikel Garcia33B
205Tommy Edman32B-OF-SS
206Carlos Estevez3RP
207Ezequiel Tovar3SS
208Nick Lodolo3SP
209Ryan Mountcastle31B-DH
210Luis Campusano3C
211Starling Marte3OF
212Brandon Drury31B-2B
213Jeimer Candelario31B-3B
214Colt Keith32B-3B
215Spencer Strider3SP
216Matt Chapman33B
217Ryan McMahon32B-3B
218Anthony Rizzo31B
219Nate Lowe31B
220Lourdes Gurriel3DH-OF
221Kyle Bradish3SP
222Mason Miller2SP
223Robert Suarez2RP
224Reid Detmers2SP
225Gavin Stone2SP
226Yusei Kikuchi2SP
227Jordan Hicks2RP
228Max Scherzer2SP
229Brandon Pfaadt2SP
230Andrew Vaughn21B
231Kyle Finnegan2RP
232Charlie Morton2SP
233Jarred Kelenic2OF
234Braxton Garrett2SP
235Kenta Maeda2SP
236Royce Lewis23B
237Eduardo Rodriguez2SP
238Jeremy Pena2SS
239Nestor Cortes2SP
240Will Smith2RP
241Tyler Stephenson2C-DH
242Luis Severino2SP
243Jared Jones2SP
244Jorge Polanco22B
245Max Kepler2OF
246Kevin Ginkel2RP
247Josh Bell21B-DH
248Luis Rengifo22B-3B-OF-SS
249Josh Jung23B
250Kutter Crawford2SP
251MJ Melendez2OF
252Will Benson2OF
253Jack Suwinski2OF
254Cristopher Sanchez2SP
255Michael Kopech2SP
256Andrew Abbott2SP