SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Carlos Rodon #16 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the first inning at Oracle Park on September 29, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The New York Yankees’ confidence level in potentially signing superstar free agent Justin Verlander is reportedly “low,” according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, but Carlos Rodón may provide a strong backup plan in the team’s quest to improve its rotation.

Per that report, “Yankees people very much like Rodón, who’s younger than the top two free-agent starters—Verlander and New York Mets star Jacob deGrom—and fashioned a complete 2022 All-Star season.”

The Yankees have also reportedly been in contact with Japanese pitcher Koudai Senga, Jameson Taillon and some potential trade targets, per Heyman.

Rodón, 29, had a breakout season for the Chicago White Sox in 2021, finishing 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 132.2 innings.

That made him one of the top free-agent arms on the market last offseason, and the San Francisco Giants signed him to a two-year, $44 million deal, which included an opt-out clause this offseason that he exercised.

Not before he put up excellent numbers, finishing 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 237 strikeouts in 178 innings. His wins, strikeouts and innings pitched were all career bests.

Rodón doesn’t have the Cy Young pedigree of a three-time winner like Verlander or a two-time winner like deGrom. But Verlander is 39, while deGrom is 34 and has battled injuries in his career. That makes Rodón an intriguing option for any team in the market for a starter, including the Yankees.

And he should have plenty of suitors:

MLB Network @MLBNetwork

Dodgers? Rangers? Mets?@jonmorosi provides an updated portfolio of potential landing spots for All-Star southpaw Carlos Rodón. pic.twitter.com/qiB29qvtRp

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

#Rangers among the most serious suitors for free agent Carlos Rodon, as we discussed earlier today on #MLBNHotStove. @MLBNetwork @MLB

As for the Yankees, the top priority will be retaining Aaron Judge, with Heyman noting the slugger “remains, by far, the Yankees’ main target (and the one they’re most likely to sign),” adding that “the Yankees feel pretty good (or as good as they can now) about their chances to retain Judge despite the public start of his free-agency tour with the deep-pocketed Giants.”

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