It looks like the battle for Carlos Rodon, the top remaining free agent starter, may come down to a competition between the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants. The Yankees are reportedly preparing to make an offer to Rodon and seem hopeful about their chances. The Giants are also pursuing Rodon, but the Yankees have recently been successful in beating the Giants to some of their top targets.
This isn't the first time the Yankees and Giants have gone head-to-head in the free agency market. Earlier this offseason, the Yankees beat the Giants for their own superstar Aaron Judge. And the Mets kept Brandon Nimmo, also preventing him from going to San Francisco. It seems that the Giants are having a tough time landing top free agents, possibly due to the fact that it isn't always easy to lure players to San Francisco unless they are from the Bay Area.
The Yankees, on the other hand, seem to be in a good position to sign Rodon. Though the Yankees liked Rodon from the start, it's worth noting that Aaron Judge is partly behind this pursuit. Judge told managing partner Hal Steinbrenner upon agreeing to his $360 million deal that he would like to see a couple of improvements. The Yankees would love to please Judge, who took less money than he could have gotten in San Diego or presumably San Francisco. This shows that the Yankees are willing to do what it takes to keep their star players happy and build a winning team.
As for Rodon, he had a strong season with the Giants in 2022, posting a 2.88 ERA and registering 237 strikeouts over 178 innings, while leading the league among qualifiers with 12 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.25 FIP. He also has ties to the area, as he is a Miamian. This may give the Yankees an edge in signing him, as he may be more willing to play for a team closer to home.
Of course, the Yankees aren't the only team interested in Rodon. Several other teams have been linked to him, including the Rangers, Dodgers, Orioles and Twins. The Red Sox and Cardinals are also among the teams surveying the pitching market. Other top starters remaining on the market include Chris Bassitt, Nate Eovaldi and Ross Stripling, with Rodon, Bassitt and Eovaldi all having the qualifying offer attached.
It remains to be seen if the Yankees will be able to sign Rodon, but it's clear that they are making a strong push for him. The Giants, and possibly other teams, will no doubt be competing for his services as well. It's shaping up to be an interesting battle for one of the top remaining free agents on the market.