The White Sox announced on Wednesday that they had placed Lefty Carlos Rodon on the 10-day casualty list retroactive to August 8th due to left shoulder fatigue. Right handed Matt Foster rose from Triple-A Charlotte to take his place on the active list. Chicago has also announced this catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has been out since early July after undergoing surgery to repair a torn knee tendon, will begin a minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Birmingham.
Rodon, 28, was up for tomorrow’s Field of Dreams game against the Yankees, but that start will now go to the real Lance Lynn instead. The South Siders have not given a firm timeline for Rodon’s recovery, but manager Tony La Russa tells reporters he expects it to be longer than a minimum stay in the IL (Twitter link via ESPN 1000’s Connor McKnight). In particular, Rodon has a history of shoulder problems. He underwent shoulder surgery in 2017 and missed most of the 2020 campaign with shoulder pain as well.
The ChiSox have more or less completed the American League Central for quite some time, so there is little point in pushing Rodon back. His absence won’t seriously detract from the team’s dominant 10.5-game lead at the Central, and the team’s focus is certainly on making sure he wraps up the regular season in full force and plays a pivotal role in the postseason.
Rodon, who served as the key to the Sox’s postseason starting team, would not have been a long time ago, to say the least. The White Sox missed Rodon last December after two injury-stricken seasons in 2019-20, in which Rodon combined in 42 1/3 frames for a gruesome ERA of 5.74.
That non-tender seemed to end Rodon’s tenure with the Sox, but just under two months later he returned on a $ 3 million one-year deal. It wasn’t the most recorded signing in recent memory among White Sox fans, but Rodon has proven the opposite to all the naysayers by not only jumping back to previous levels but instead reaching entirely new heights, as recently done by Anthony Franco examined by MLBTR.
Rodon’s 2021 version was the overwhelming ace the Sox may have hoped would eventually become when they voted him the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2014. By 19 starts this season, Rodon has 109 2/3 innings of 2.38 ERA-ball while pitting an excellent 36.2 percent of his opponents against a very decent 6.8 percent walk rate. He’s taken his average fastball speed to a career high of 95.8 mph, fanned 10 or more hitters five times, and threw a no-hitter that was almost a perfect game.
Along the way, Rodon has cemented himself as one of the team’s frontline starters, joining the aforementioned Lynn among the league’s more dominant hurlers. Rodon’s ERA is the sixth best among pitchers with at least 100 innings thrown – Lynn leads with 2.04 – and no baseball pitcher has breathed a higher percentage of his opponents (again at least 100 innings thrown).
The injury shouldn’t affect the White Sox’s chances of making the postseason. Rodon himself would be best served with a quick return to full strength, however, as he will return to the free agent market this winter. The dominance he’s shown so far should already position him for a sizeable multi-year deal, but an extended absence can give teams a break – especially given the deep free-agent class and number of alternative options on the market. He’s already seen a lot differently than when the Sox let him go in December, but a quick return and a healthy ending would make for an even more bullish outlook.