The White Sox were never going to be playoff contenders this season, but losing Carlos Rodon for the season could cause things to get ugly in Chicago.
Carlos Rodon hasn’t been pitching like an All-Star for the White Sox this season, but he’s arguably been the team’s most consistent pitcher on the young season. If his elbow injury forces him to miss the rest of the year it will be very difficult for Chicago to remain competitive.
Unfortunately for Chicago’s American League team, there’s a distinct possibility that Rodon will require Tommy John surgery to get right. The team doesn’t have a “specific treatment plan” in place at the moment, but White Sox officials do admit that major surgery is a possibility. If Rodon is forced to undergo Tommy John surgery he’ll miss the rest of the current season plus a significant portion of next year.
The White Sox have actually been a very entertaining ball club this season en route to a 13-15 start. Much of their success has been built on an exciting corps of young position players. Eloy Jimenez has been a revelation during his rookie season. Yoan Moncada also looks like a potential star. No player in the league has garnered more attention with his bat than Tim Anderson has through 28 games.
That offensive production has overshadowed what’s been a dismal start for the team’s pitching rotation. Rodon’s ERA of 5.19 through seven starts isn’t overly impressive, but it’s the best mark of any player in the starting rotation. Only Lucas Giolito joins him with an ERA of under 6.00. Ivan Nova currently sports a mark of 8.33 and Ervin Santana pitched so poorly in the early going that the team chose to release him rather than give him a chance to improve on his 9.45 ERA.
Cynical fans will point out that the White Sox don’t really need to win games this year. That’s a bit short-sighted. It’s important for young position players like Jimenez, Moncada and Anderson to learn how to play competitive baseball for a full season. At the very least, the White Sox would like to stay around .500 for as long as possible to see how their young players perform under real game pressure.
Instead, the most likely outcome now is that Chicago will nose dive to become one of the worst teams in the American League. That’s not going to completely derail their trajectory as a rebuilding franchise, but it’s a disappointing outcome after how they’ve begun the season. Rodon’s injury may take the White Sox from being one of the most entertaining teams in MLB to being one of the least competitive.