Rodón not thinking about trade rumors after a dominant outing originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — Carlos Rodón’s fifth pitch Sunday night was hit high and deep to left, and as the left-hander watched Luis Gonzalez track it, camp under it, and rob Christopher Morel at the wall, he went through a full range of emotions .
After the disappointment of the contact on the pitch, Rodón spread his arms out in confusion, then pinned his glove against his face in relief. He nodded a couple of times and then finally tipped his cap to his left fielder. It was a good example of what the next two days will be like for the 29-year-old.
Rodón has long stood as potentially the best starter available on the market if the Giants were to make him available, and they have in recent days. The front office is open to trading Rodón and potentially other veterans to get younger and more athletic, and even before he dominated in a 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs, many of Rodón’s teammates felt they were spending their last days with him.
After the win, Rodón downplayed any talk of a trade to a contender. There is a storm swirling around him, but he is doing his best to avoid it.
“What I’m worried about is tomorrow,” Rodón said. “I’m worried about winning tomorrow, and that’s all I really care about.”
Rodón gave no indication that the deadline is weighing on his mind, although teammates have spoken to him about it in recent days. He admitted that the 0-7 road trip might have changed things for the organization, but the Giants did bounce back by taking three of four from the Cubs.
“We play baseball every day and we’re lucky because we can definitely change people’s perspective day to day,” Rodón said. “It’s kind of one of those things where you’ve got to look ahead to the next start.”
Rodón’s 21st start in orange and black was one of his best. He nearly gave up a leadoff homer but was saved by Gonzalez, and the Cubs managed just two singles over the rest of his seven innings. Rodón didn’t issue a walk and struck out 10, picking up his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season. As always, the four-seamer topped out at 99 mph.
Asked what was working for Rodón, catcher Austin Wynns said “everything.”
“He was a beast,” Wynns added.
It is a complete package that has fit perfectly atop the rotation, with Rodón making an All-Star appearance as Logan Webb’s co-ace. It would fit in 2023, too, but the Giants are unlikely to dish out the kind of contract it would take to keep Rodón around long-term.
They made no real effort to re-sign Kevin Gausman, who was 30 years old last offseason and coming off a similarly dominant season. Rodón comes with the added wrinkle of having Scott Boras as his agent, meaning he will chase a contract that may exceed the $110 million Gausman got from the Toronto Blue Jays.
This front office does not like giving out long-term deals to older players, particularly to pitchers. Anthony DeSclafani is the only one who has gotten more than two years, which is the number Rodón signed up for, but with a twist. His contract includes an opt-out after 110 innings and that was triggered earlier this month during an appearance against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rodón finished Sunday’s game with a 3.00 ERA in his 123 innings this season.
That 123rd inning was followed by some hugs in the dugout, although this wasn’t a full-blown “hug watch.” Rodón will often show love to his catchers and others after starts and he said that was the case Sunday, noting it was just appreciation for guys who played hard behind him.
It was hard not to watch that scene and feel like it was the beginning of a longer goodbye, though. That is certainly the expectation for many in the clubhouse and the organization, although the final decision lies with Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris, who always keep their cards close.
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This is the front office’s best chance to acquire young talent since 2019, when Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith were two of the better trade chips in baseball but went nowhere. It’s possible that’s ultimately the case with Rodón, but as dominant as Sunday’s outing was, all it did was get the Giants back to 51-51. They remain four games out of a National League playoff spot, and that’s a big reason why one of their best players could be wearing another uniform in a couple of days.
If that’s the case, Gabe Kapler said, the goal will remain the same.
“I think anything is possible,” Kapler said. “I would never bet against any group of guys in that room. I feel a ton of confidence in them. We’ve believed in them collectively and not with one individual leading the way. I think that’s the only way to think about it. “
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