Going forward with Carlos Rodon

Me, on Monday.

...But with the team still 6.5 games back already, they’re facing a judgment call on when they need to deploy Rodon. While John Danks pulled a QS from his frayed shoulder over the weekend, the next good thing Hector Noesi does in 2015 will be the first, and it will truly be a new order under Rick Hahn if the Sox get through the month without utilizing their biggest remaining counter-punch.
— Again, this was me

Well, that was a few days of mystery.

If Hector Noesi being available out of the bullpen on consecutive days wasn't enough of a clue, the White Sox cemented that Carlos Rodon will become a member of the starting rotation Tuesday, where he will presumably extend his commanding 1-0 lead in quality starts over Noesi. Rick Hahn stressed that the Sox will reserve their right to give Rodon extra days off, skip him in the rotation, and bust out every other workload-suppressing trick in their toolkit, but also have him slotted in through the All-Star break. Hahn's qualifiers are like the 'terms and conditions' pop-up window that we're required to click-through.

If we're all so concerned about Carlos Rodon, the player as opposed to Carlos Rodon, the value-producing cog, bouncing him back and forth between the bullpen never really made a lot of sense, and as Robin Ventura explained to Dan Hayes, it doesn't really encourage him to grow his complement of pitches.

The best part of it is he gets to use everything. When he goes in there as a reliever, he’s just trying to get in and out as fast as he can. Now with that start that he had, you’re able to use maybe his changeup a little more and have a little more variety than just fastball-slider. And I think command-wise he’s going to be better with that.
— Robin Ventura

A power lefty who can subsist off his fastball-slider combo alone is not going to get a lot of organic motivation to snap out of that mode in short-inning, high-leverage opportunities. MLB competition in general might force Rodon to lean on his strengths, but at least multiple trips through the order will push him to expand.

As far as the value-producing cog goes, once we saw Rodon stabilize over multiple innings, maintain his velocity, and vary his killer sliders as he made multiple trips through the lineup...well, going further on the quest for Hector Noesi to survive six innings didn't seem particularly worth it. Not with one of the worst rotation performances in baseball up to this point and an uphill climb to get back into the race.

Rodon's debut was for the most part as pretty as can be, and hopefully a new regularity can bring a consistent plan with how he'll look to roll out his changeup every time out and how he will attack hitters, but he's fully capable of walking himself out of games, and has had stretches where his fastball command was shaky enough to turn him into a punching bag during that particularly awful series in Minnesota. He could be boom or bust in the early going, but Noesi wasn't providing any of the steady mediocrity to appeal even to the most conservative of approaches. Than Hahn said Noesi will start again this season only reflects that he's watched the starting rotation machinations of a 162-game season before and knows there will be work to pick up. He's the new Dylan Axelrod.

Finally, on a pure entertainment level, this is a no-brainer. Rodon has electrifying talent and is a reason to tune in on his own. For a Sox franchise that has neither won, nor birthed its fair share of homegrown elite talents, and still wonders aloud where the fans are, the more flags they can waive to signal a new era, the better off they will be.