Carlos Rodon May Need Tommy John, Rebuild is in Deep Trouble

Carlos Rodon May Need Tommy John, Rebuild is in Deep Trouble 1

After a promising yet somewhat inconsistent start to this season, Carlos Rodon had his worst outing of the year last night against the Orioles, lasting only 3 innings and giving up 8 earned runs. This brutal outing against the pathetic Orioles ballooned his ERA up from 2.89 to 4.94 in one fell swoop, sending a wave of negative thoughts through White Sox twitter.

As fate would have it today, I’m sure any of us would take *only* an awful start as the worst news regarding Carlos Rodon today. In what has become a cruel joke for the White Sox faithful, this bullet was sent out from the team twitter today:

Never thought I’d be so triggered by the words “elbow inflammation”, but here we are. After similar injuries to the likes of Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning, and Micker Adolfo (hey, OF’s can blow out their elbows too), Carlos Rodon looks like he may be the next man in the White Sox Tommy John Parade.

This is an absolutely brutal development for Carlos (first and foremost), the White Sox organization, and the fan base. After a rough couple seasons, gut punches keep landing time after time. The losses have piled up, and now the injuries just keep coming, one after one after one. And not just light, few week long injuries like (we’re praying) Eloy’s ankle sprain is, these are things that can derail progress for a year. The last thing you want at this point is young pitchers who need innings having to sit for a whole season+.

Someone call in Duke Evers on this rebuild for Christ’s sake, my heart can’t take this anymore.

Carlos Rodon May Need Tommy John, Rebuild is in Deep Trouble 2

In all seriousness, this injury is absolutely devastating on two fronts: Carlos Rodon himself, and the rebuild in general. Let’s break both these angles down…

This is Heartbreaking for Carlos Rodon

This should be obvious – this injury came at the worst possible time for Carlos Rodon. While we aren’t sure if he will need TJ at this point, indications are pointing to this injury being long term. So, let’s operate under the assumption Carlos is out for an extended period of time. What happens now?

Outside of last night, Rodon was looking like he was on his way to a breakout season. He had a couple of ace-caliber outings, like his 8 K gem against the Indians for his second start of the year. He started Opening Day, while albeit in a watered down rotation with 1-2 guys who shouldn’t be pitching in the MLB, is still an honor. And he finally began using his best weapon, the slider, throwing it at the highest clip of his career.

Carlos Rodon May Need Tommy John, Rebuild is in Deep Trouble 3

I mean, just look at this thing, it’s absolute filth. It may not be Chris Sale, but that’ll do.

If Carlos Rodon kept this level of play up the whole year, he was setting himself up to be the ace of this staff, leading the team from the rebuild to contention. He was setting himself up for a big payday when he hits free agency in 2022. Or, if this rebuild doesn’t pan out, may have been dealt to a contender in a year or two. And now, if he needs to sit for a year+ with Tommy John surgery? A lot of that is gone.

Missing a year of development is huge. While this of course impacts the team, the impact to Carlos is the most important here. Wishing a speedy recovery to this dude for his own sake.

With that being said, this should be an absolute fire for the rebuild…

The Rebuild is on Code Red

There’s really no other way to put it. IF Carlos Rodon needs Tommy John, the rebuild is on the closest thing to life support it can be on. There goes our ace, the one starter who had looked consistently good this year (with the exception of last night). And with Dunning, Kopech, and Burdi recovering from similar injuries, Lopez/Giolito looking inconsistent to bad, and basically everyone else we have tried at the big league level looking lost, this one hurts. At this point, Dylan Cease is our last hope for the near future. God is playing a cruel joke if he were to get hurt.

Yeah, we’ve had good years out of Moncada and Tim Anderson so far. I’m all on board for that, but when it boils down to it if that’s all we have we don’t have a playoff team. Which defeats the purpose of this whole rebuild.

I wrote about this when I covered the Kopech injury in September. When all we as Sox fans need is a little sprinkling of hope, the floor drops out. It sucks. It makes each lost season get worse and worse. We need something tangible more than ever to show a corner is being turned, and it seems every time that gets closer it just gets ripped away.

Yes, we have a lot of prospects, but prospects aren’t sure things. Lord do we know that now. We hope for the best, but in reality that’s all we’re doing, is just hoping. This past offseason, when we had a legitimate shot to upgrade the major league roster with pieces that could legitimately accelerate the rebuild, what happened? You all know that answer.

I’m not just talking about Machado or Harper. There were plenty of guys who could have helped – McCutchen, Pollock, Corbin, even Gio freaking Gonzalez. Hell, Dallas Keuchel is unsigned! And what did we get – Ervin Santana and Ivan Nova. Wonderful. I love Moncada’s and Anderson’s breakout years, but if we have no pitching moving forward we’re going nowhere.

I know I’m beating a dead horse with this offseason. It’s over and done. But with each injury adding on, it becomes more and more glaring. At some point, ownership and the FO need to invest in this team. Injuries are inevitable, and that only makes it clear right now that this team has very little behind our front line guys.

As I’ve made clear before, I’ll always support the players on the field. They’re busting their asses to win, and I know that. They can’t control injuries, and I know all these guys are doing everything in their power to come back better than ever.

But these things do happen. So this is on the front office, again. This next offseason cannot be overstated – we whiffed in 2018-19, if we whiff next winter we’re in enormous trouble. I’m tired of saying this every year, so it’s time for this franchise to show us something. There’s nothing else to say.

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