After four players elected free agency on Sunday, the SF Giants had two more decisions looming before the official start of the offseason on Thursday. One of those decisions was made quickly as Carlos Rodón opted out of the remainder of his two-year, $44 million pact, thereby becoming a free agent.
SF Giants hard-throwing lefty opts out of contract
There was no surprise there. Rodón's contract included an opt-out clause that would be triggered if he exceeded 110 innings pitched in his first season. He did so with ease, and the Giants have been expecting him to opt out ever since.
The left-handed hurler battled elbow and shoulder injuries earlier in his career. The latter required Tommy John surgery to repair, knocking him out for part of the 2019 season. He did not have a reliable track record of durability or success before 2021, but development is never linear.
The Chicago White Sox even non-tendered Rodón after the 2020 season before re-signing him to a one-year, $3 million contract in 2021. This is where the southpaw's career began to take off.
In his final season with the Chicago, he registered a 2.37 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 0.95 WHIP, 12.6 K/9, and a 5.14 SO/W ratio in 24 starts. However, he experienced a dip in fastball velocity late in the year that raised some red flags within the White Sox organization.
Oddly enough, Chicago did not make a qualifying offer for Rodón last season, so the Giants did not forfeit a draft pick when he was signed. In his lone season with San Francisco, the eight-year veteran was fantastic as he recorded a 2.88 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 12.0 K/9, and a 4.56 SO/W ratio in 31 starts.
The appearances (31) and innings pitched (178.0) represented career highs for a pitcher who often struggled to make over 20 starters earlier in his career. Rodón has been selected to two straight All-Star teams and he will likely be a top-five finisher for the NL Cy Young award when the results are published later this month.
Given that the White Sox did not make a qualifying offer last winter, he is still eligible to receive one. This is a no-brainer decision for the Giants, which Rodón will reject. If he signs with another team, the Giants will receive a compensatory pick.
The qualifying offer can shrink a player's market as some teams are weary about losing draft picks, but that will likely not be the case with the hard-throwing starter as he should produce more value than a compensatory pick.
With Rodón's decision to opt out, the 40-man roster now stands at 36. The Giants will have a lot of roster activity this upcoming week.