Former Chicago Cubs’ reliever, Hector Rondon, has agreed to terms with the Astros.
The Astros continue to address the bullpen needs this winter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros have agreed to terms with right-hander Hector Rondon, who has pitched for the Cubs the past five seasons.
After being non-tendered by the Cubs, the Astros were able to sweep in and sign him. It’s a solid addition for the Houston bullpen.
Rondon will be 30-years-old in February and has a total of 77 saves with the Chicago Cubs in his five years there. He is a career 18-13 with a 3.22 ERA in 296 games played. Rondon averaged a 96.8 MPH four-seam fastball last season, in conjunction with a slider and sinker as his secondary offerings. He even on occasion throws a change up. Rondon also had an 48.3% groundball rate and 29.1% strikeout rate last season.
The 2015 season has been his best by far in the majors. While on a decline in 2016 and 2017, the Astros are hoping he returns to form this season with hopes for another postseason run. With Ken Giles still in the mix, it will be nice to have a couple of quality relievers who can close games in the arsenal.
A familiar face.
Rondon is no complete stranger to the Astros clubhouse as the Venezuela native played with Jose Altuve on Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. I can’t help but think that our MVP had a little something to do in luring him here.
Rondon has had some great moments in his career up to this point, including two saves in the NLDS for the Cubs in 2015. Despite the slow decline in 2016 and 2017, he exhibited improved velocity in 2017.
With the right coaching, I’m confident the Astros will rebuild his confidence and get him back to 2015 form. That’s what the Astros do as they scout and evaluate talent along with taking chances on players.
Rondon also ranks 6th on the all-time Cubs saves list. That alone is a big feat for such a storied franchise. While maybe a loss to Chicago, this is a great addition to the defending World Champions.
Not done yet.
I doubt the Astros are done but its refreshing to know they are taking chances on guys like Rondon. Along with the newly-acquired Joe Smith and the returning relievers, the 2018 bullpen is taking shape.
While the agreements to the Rondon contract aren’t yet available, it’s nice to see the Astros being aggressive in these Winter Meetings and addressing the bullpen needs.
***Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.***