The Winter Meetings are over, and free agency is truly heating up. The reliever market, in particular, has taken shape relatively quickly. Today, another name came off the list of available arms. Hector Rondon, the long-time Chicago Cub, signed a two-year deal with the Houston Astros. The defending World Champions will pay the veteran $8.5 million over the length of the contract.
Hector Rondon contract with #Astros, per source: Two years, $8.5M. Deal is official – he just passed his physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2017
Hector Rondon Joins Houston Astros
Rondon, 29, helped the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years in 2016. Now, he’ll join a team that just won its first title ever. The Astros have retained the majority of their championship roster, and are poised to make a strong run in 2018 at a second title. Rondon will have a good shot at building on his ring collection.
A native of Venezuela, Rondon has been in the majors since 2013, and had spent his career with the Cubs until this point. He owns a career 3.22 ERA, 77 saves, and 303 strikeouts. The 2015 season ended as, and remains, his statisitcal best. He logged 70 innings that year, notched 69 strikeouts, and saved 30 games, all while laying down a 1.67 ERA.
Last season, as a setup man, Rondon racked up 10 holds, but finished with a disappointing 4.24 ERA. However, he equaled his career high of 69 strikeouts, and this time did it in just 57.1 innings. There’s no doubt his stuff remains in tact; if he can bring his walk and home run totals back down to their previous levels, he’ll once again be the top-end reliever he was from 2014-2016.
The right-hander has closing experience, but is more of a do-it-all reliever. He cetainly can close when necessary; Rondon owns a career 2.71 ERA in 149.2 ninth innings. His ERA rises the the earlier he enters a game, but his eighth inning ERA still sits at a very respectable 3.88. Whether the Astros plan to use him as a closer or in a setup role, they’ve made their relief corps stronger with this addition.