Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Injury updates: When will Carlos Rodon pitch for the White Sox again?

Carlos Rodon
Forget about the White Sox's 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night. Nothing to see there, nothing much to talk about, an inconsequential loss in a season that is expected to be full of them.

The most important news of the day was on the injury front, where left-hander Carlos Rodon met the media for the first time in a long time after throwing 60 pitches in a simulated game against minor leaguers Monday at Chase Field.

Relief pitchers Jake Petricka and Nate Jones also worked during the simulated game, but the big story is Rodon, whose recovery from left bicep bursitis has taken much longer than expected.

For Rodon, this was his fourth simulated game, and he says he considers himself to be on an every-fifth-day schedule at this point. Still, there's no timetable for his return, and general manager Rick Hahn used the phrase "in the coming weeks" when asked when Rodon might return to game action.

“He’s been out there now three or four times throwing to hitters,” Hahn told Sox beat reporters. “Each time has been a little more crisp from what I understand from the previous ones to today. Hopefully here in the coming weeks we are able to announce he’s starting a rehab assignment and we’ll have a better sense of his time frame at that point.”

Let me take an educated guess: Rodon might be back around the All-Star break. Say it's three more weeks until he heads out on a rehab assignment. Realistically, he'll probably need three or four starts in the minors before he's got enough strength and endurance to start in a big league game.

So, maybe we'll see him in July.

Why does this matter so much? For two reasons. One, the 24-year-old is seen as a cornerstone pitcher in the Sox's rebuilding plan. If he cannot get healthy and pitch effectively at some point this season, his status as a building block for the future would have to be called into question.

Secondly, his status affects the Sox's strategy at the trade deadline. With Rodon and James Shields both on the disabled list, the team's organizational pitching depth has been stretched thin. Retread veteran Mike Pelfrey and Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey don't belong in a major league rotation, but they are there because of the injuries, and because the Sox don't want to rush prized pitching prospects such as Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer into the starting rotation.

A healthy Rodon -- and a healthy Shields, for that matter -- makes it a little easier for Hahn to deal ace Jose Quintana for a package of prospects when July comes around.

If Rodon is not healthy for the second half of the season, and the Sox choose to deal Quintana, they might be faced with having to force-fit a prospect into the big league rotation before they really want to. That's a situation everyone would like to avoid, and it can be avoided if Rodon can take the ball 14 or 15 times before the 2017 season is over.


  1. From the moment Rodon was drafted, I never considered him a cornerstone of ANYTHING except a 2019 trade since his agent is Scott Boras.

    I'm starting to think the trade market for Quintana will be at its peak in the next off season. At that point the Brewers rebuild will start bearing fruit and they will have a window in which they can realistically compete for a playoff spot. The Braves are probably in a better spot than the Brewers to trade prospects. They won't give up any AA/AAA prospects, and maybe not even high A, but they are a deep system and may be in an even better spot to compete for a wild card in 2018 than the Mets. Baltimore is always a veteran club that won't pay market rates for free agent pitchers (especially with Machado going into arbitration) and they will need to get at least one veteran arm.

  2. If Rodon comes back healthy and pitches well the second half, do you trade him this offseason? If you don't anticipate him being a part of the next Sox contender a few years down the line, would it not make sense to put him on the list of potential players to deal?

  3. I'd certainly bring up his name in trade talks. They have to gauge his market value even if the intent is to keep him for the duration of his contract. If offered two A+ prospects for him I'd make the trade.

    I'd do the same with Tim Anderson as the only thing he's shown me so far is that he's no better than Shawon Dunston. And we get the same excuses - he just needs a few more years to develop. Yeah well, he's got two years to develop or he needs to be gone. We put up with the same thing with Avi Garcia and it was a grave mistake. The Cubs learned the hard way giving Dunston far too much time - he should have been moved to the outfield by age 27 and even Dunston himself admits today that he should have done that. If you're 26 and had 1200 at bats at the major league level you either need to be top 15 at your position - offensively or defensively - or you should be on your way out of a starting job.