Earlier this offseason, the Chicago Cubs had decisions to make on eight arbitration eligible players on whether or not they were going to tender them contracts for the upcoming season.
And with a robust free agent relief market and a projected $6 million or so in 2018 salary, Hector Rondon was one of the players they decided to non-tender.
Rondon, 29, battled injuries and ineffectiveness in 2016 and 2017 after being so freaking dominant for the Cubs in 2014 and 2015. He was projected to make over $6 million in arbitration, though, and with such a robust free agent class ahead of the Cubs, I can see why they decided to earmark that money elsewhere.
Although it was always possible that the Cubs and Rondon could’ve re-upped on a new, less-expensive deal for the 2018 season, that’s no longer the case. Ken Rosenthal is now reporting that he’s signed on with the Astros:
Free-agent RHP Hector Rondon in agreement with #Astros, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2017
Brett already gave him somewhat of the “goodbye” treatment earlier this offseason, so I won’t linger in the feelings-department too long, but I will say that I always really liked Rondon. He was a big, lovable, sometimes-dominant part of the Chicago Cubs bullpen for many years and he’ll be missed by this Cubs fan.
And you know what else? I’m really glad he landed with a contender.
The Astros, fresh off a 101-win season and World Series victory, are favorites to repeat in the AL West once again, and Rondon has a chance to be a big part of that. I have no idea what role he’ll will play within their bullpen, but if he can return to his 2014-2015 form, Rondon can be a force out of that pen.
The contract details are not yet clear, but I’ll update this post as soon as they come out. For now, bye, Hector. You were good.
UPDATE: According to Chris Cotillo, Rondon landed a two-year deal, though the particulars are not yet known.