MLB is in the midst of a lockout, which means everything is pretty quiet at the moment.
But before everything shut down, some major dominoes fell in free agency.
When the offseason began, the free-agent class was loaded with top-tier starting pitchers.
That didn’t last very long, as many of the best available rotation arms were signed before the lockout went into effect.
However, there are still a few fantastic starters looking for homes.
Carlos Rodon is one of them.
Is he the best remaining starting pitcher on the free-agent market?
Who Else Is Still Out There?
Aside from Rodon, there’s really only one starter still on the free-agent market who can be described as an ace.
That would be Clayton Kershaw.
Sure, there are other solid options still out there, like Zack Greinke, Tyler Anderson, and a few others, but when it comes to legitimate aces, Rodon and Kershaw are the only two remaining free agents who fit that description.
So, who’s a more appealing free agent: Rodon or Kershaw?
Comparing How Rodon And Kershaw Performed In 2021
Rodon is coming off of an outstanding 2021 season.
In truth, it came out of nowhere, as he entered the year with a career ERA of 4.14.
But he left the past in the past and put together a dominant campaign in 2021.
Over 24 starts, the lefty posted a 2.37 ERA, 2.65 FIP, and 0.96 WHIP.
He also registered an ERA+ of 183, meaning he was 83 percent better than league.
Rodon finished the season with a bWAR of 5.0, doing so despite missing a handful of starts.
He fanned 185 batters in 132.2 innings of work, and when all was said and done, he finished fifth in the AL Cy Young race.
He likely would have finished higher if he hadn’t missed more time.
Carlos Rodón throwing 🔥🔥
And, a Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/vyBTEhGP0Y
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 18, 2021
As for Kershaw, his 2021 season was good, but by his standards, it wasn’t overly impressive.
He made 22 starts and posted a 3.55 ERA.
That’s the worst mark of his career if you exclude his rookie season.
That just goes to show you how dominant he has been throughout his career, as a 3.55 ERA would be an outstanding mark for many pitchers.
But in Kershaw’s case, by his standards, it’s pretty mediocre.
He also pitched to a 115 ERA+, 3.00 FIP, and 1.02 WHIP.
It wasn’t his best season, but it was still a solid showing.
Clayton Kershaw, Cooperstown Curveball. 👑 pic.twitter.com/iUr3EhqWlQ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 28, 2021
All things considered, Rodon had the superior 2021 season between these two guys.
Comparing The Overall Resumes Of Rodon And Kershaw
When it comes to comparing these two players on the whole, it’s an interesting discussion.
There’s no doubt that Kershaw has had a better career than Rodon.
Kershaw, who’s a three-time Cy Young award winner, five-time ERA champ, and one-time MVP, beats Rodon when it comes to all things accolades and stats.
But on the other hand, Rodon almost certainly has more left in the tank than Kershaw does.
Rodon is 28, Kershaw is 33, and both of these guys seem to be trending in opposite directions when it comes to production.
Rodon seems to be entering the best years of his career, and Kershaw’s best seasons MIGHT be behind him.
For that reason, Rodon is probably a more attractive free agent than Kershaw is at this point in each player’s career.
That’s our verdict.