Kyle Higashioka explains how Yankees plan to call games for Carlos Rodon, competing with Jose Trevino
The biggest new name added to the Yankees roster this offseason was Carlos Rodon.
The LHP will slide in as the No. 2 starter for the Yankees’ rotation this upcoming season. With pitchers and catchers set to report in the coming days, the Yankee backstops will have to learn what makes Rodon tick, and how best to call his games.
Catcher Kyle Higashioka was honored at the 2023 Thurman Munson Awards on Tuesday night and was asked how he and the rest of the team plan to integrate Rodon.
He said that it starts with a meeting between the catchers, Yankees Director of Catching Tanner Swanson and the team’s analytics department.
“We’re going to have meetings to determine what they believe makes him successful and we’ll sit down with Carlos too and ask what he believes makes him successful,” Higashioka explained to SNY contributor Sweeny Murti. “And usually just overlaying both of those on top of each other gives us a good picture of how to handle him.”
Rodon signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Yankees this past offseason and is coming off his second straight All-Star season. In 2022, Rodon went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.028 WHIP over 31 starts for the San Francisco Giants.
The Yankees hope he can bring those numbers to the Bronx so they can make another deep run in the playoffs.
Higashioka wants to be a part of that run whether he’s the everyday catcher or not.
The 32-year-old was the Opening Day catcher in 2022, but the offensive numbers he put up in spring training didn’t translate when the regular season started. Eventually, recently acquired catcher Jose Trevino overtook the starting catching duties, en route to an All-Star season.
When asked how he and Trevino handle competing for playing time, Higashioka says they have a good relationship because they share the same values as the Yankees.
“I've been brought up through this organization and [winning is] the only thing that ever matters,” Higashioka said. “Yeah, we’re technically competing for the same job, but it’s all about winning here. I’ll do whatever I can to help the team have success. If I'm doing my part everything’s going to be fine for me. And if he does his part, everything’s going to be fine for him. We’ll be just fine.”
Pitchers and catchers for the Yankees report on Thursday, Feb. 16.