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Hector Rondon Brought the Big Memories, Cubs Pitching Prospects Loom, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

This morning is one of those times when it’s very difficult not to discuss political stuff as the “other thing” that I usually lead off the Bullets with. Not just because of the tax vote or the Michael Flynn news, but because the litany of political things that have become the “stuff people talk about” is nearly overwhelming. It’s easy to tell someone like me to “stick to sports,” but geez, increasingly, it’s like if you’re not talking about political crap you’re left out of the public conversation entirely.


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Which, I suppose, is why I’ll *CHOOSE* to stick to sports today. All that political stuff is important, but we’ve gotta have more going on between us than that.

  • With yesterday’s tender decisions, Hector Rondon is now moving on into free agency, and maybe moving on from the organization altogether. Whatever happens, the last couple years shouldn’t dampen the memory of just how good he was in 2014 and 2015, when his 3.2 WAR was 12th most in baseball for relievers, and his 2.03 ERA was 9th best. The guy was a Rule 5 Draft pick, and then became the closer on a playoff team. Great run. He’ll find a new deal out there somewhere, but he’ll probably have to re-establish himself in middle relief before he gets another crack at later innings.
  • Also, I’ll always remember how Rondon contributed two of THE BEST moments in that 2015 season:

  • Obviously everyone remembers the NLDS win over the Cardinals (with Stephen Piscotty flailing away helplessly to end it), but finishing off that sweep against the Giants by striking out the side after loading the bases … man, not only is that just crazy on its face, but that series was enormously important to the Cubs at the time, as they were just starting to streak.
  • MBD’s tweet made me think back to that 2015 season, and the unbelievable volume of fantastic things that happened. (Back then, I wrote up a list of them – 55(!) of them.)

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(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • The Cubs’ bullpen is currently comprised of Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery … and then a whole lot of battles and open spots for free agency. There is nothing the Cubs can do with respect to bullpen additions that would be a surprise.
  • Minor League Ball has unveiled its preliminary grading totals for Cubs prospects, and it’s fairly ugly (even if what we expected): the Cubs have zero B+ or better prospects (aka impact types), and just 11 B or B-. Graduations, late drafting, and the IFA penalty box will do that. HOWEVER, Minor League Ball also points out, “the Cubs strike me as having a larger-than-normal number of Grade C type players, some of them with the potential to improve considerably, meaning that there is some depth here. This could look much better a year from now.” You can see the full list of prospects considered there at the post, and the final rankings typically come out in a month or two.
  • Something else we believe about the Cubs’ farm system, but which is very nice to see from outside analysts:

  • A totally random thing I noticed while looking back at Kosuke Fukudome’s time with the Cubs. Did you know he played in the NPB *THIS* year at age 40? Posted an .818 OPS, too.
  • Aaron Boone got the job as the new Yankees manager, coming over from the ESPN booth. I’ll concede I’ve never been overly impressed by Boone in the booth, but it’s possible it’s a whole other world when he’s in the clubhouse. Clearly, they must like him a whole lot to have ultimately moved on from Joe Girardi to go with Boone.
  • Does this mean the Cubs’ new hitting coach is a sandwich:

  • This is fun:

  • Over at The Ten-Yard Line, Alshon Jeffery finally got his big money deal, and it came only after he left the Bears.

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  • Yes, but who among us:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.