January 9: The Diamondbacks have announced the signing.
January 8, 3:10pm: Rondon’s option is valued at $4MM and can increase to $5MM based on games finished, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link).
2:20pm: The D-backs have agreed to terms with right-handed reliever Hector Rondon on a one-year deal with a club option for the 2021 season, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Rondon, an Octagon client, will receive a $3MM guarantee that comes in the form of a $2.5MM salary and $500K buyout on the club option. The deal is pending a physical.
Rondon, 32 next month, spent the past two seasons with the Astros and has previously served as the closer for the Cubs. His two-year stint in Houston produced 119 2/3 innings of 3.46 ERA ball, and he averaged 8.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 with a 48 percent ground-ball rate.
A larger payday for Rondon might’ve been in order had he not taken some notable steps back in 2019. The righty’s 7.1 K/9, 18.7 percent strikeout rate and 9.8 percent swinging-strike rate were the lowest marks of his seven-year big league career. And, after demonstrating pristine control with the Cubs in 2015-16, Rondon has continued to issue walks at roughly the league average rate dating back to the 2017 campaign.
That said, Rondon still averaged nearly 97 mph on his heater this past season and maintained a respectable 3.71 ERA. He’ll give the D-backs another experienced late-inning arm to pair with the likes of Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin. Rondon is the second veteran arm added by general manager Mike Hazen and his staff this winter, as the team also signed former Brewers righty Junior Guerra to join the late-inning mix. There’s certainly still room for improvement and outside additions, but the bullpen has added a bit more stability without taking on a substantial financial risk.
With Rondon on board, Arizona current projects to have an Opening Day payroll of roughly $117MM, though additional roster machinations will almost certainly impact the final tabulation. It’s still possible that left-hander Robbie Ray could be marketed to other clubs as he enters his final season of team control, and the Diamondbacks could also continue to explore further bench and bullpen upgrades.
They could do worse. I’m a little surprised he was so cheap. Had a good year as recently as 2018.
Dodgers should have picked him up
This guy is a slightly better version of Yimi
If you look at the numbers, when Rondon is the regular closer, his numbers are a lot better than when he is a set-up man.
Hazen is very successful finding these deals. Amazing gm
Klentak you missed again
not sure what he’s waiting for…. bullpen is in shambles, gotta get some depth in there before Spring Training
He’s pretty a clearly little gun shy after all the money he’s wasted on relievers these past few offseason. Can’t say it’s the worst strategy either. He hasn’t been very good at identifying bullpen talent. He might as well wait a couple months and see what he has.
I think Velasquez should be a full time reliever—he could help things. Maybe add a couple of the bargain bin guys and see how it goes. You can always swing a trade in June if you need more.
Nick Piecoro always on top of it. Love those D-backs beat writers.
Nice signing, the usual fallen closer profile Hazen is used to signing each year. At least this one looks better than Holland and Rodney at first sight.
The Reds need another reliever like this guy, and the reliever market is shrinking fast. Safe pick up for the d-backs…
Why are the Astros letting o of relievers like Harris and Rondon? Who will replace them?
They’re free agents. The Astros payroll is already higher than the luxury tax threshold, and they’re trying to get under it.
Beware of the Diamondbacks this year. They could be sneaky good.
They were sneaky good last year and just fell short of playoffs. Seems like history will repeat itself in 2020. Could finish anywhere from 2nd to 4th in division.
For Dbacks, only thing left to do this off-season is to trade for a CF, so Marte can move to 2b. I’m sure Hazen has been working on this thorny problem. Speculating that the Dbacks are talking to the Twins about Buxton, to the A’s about Laureano or Canha, to the Pirates about Starling Marte, and to others.
Looks like Young will be the other left hander in the Dbacks bullpen this season. Rondo and Guerra will compete for bullpen spots with Ginkel and Bradley, for the “closer” role, although the Dbacks may not formally declare one of them as the “closer”.
Ginkel flew under the radar all summer; 25 IP is no longer a small sample size. There’s some serious upside there.
Just another good move from Hazen. They’re a few miles from the Dodgers, but definitely in the WC hunt. And with that defense and Lovello, they’re a whole bunch of fun to watch.
They don’t really need bench upgrades. Everyone wants more pitching. They could use a starting center fielder, like Jackie Bradley, but that wouldn’t cost Robbie Ray. They don’t need to trade Ray, but they could for the right package—they have the leverage with a team like the Angels, which wants to compete but clearly lacks the pitching to do so.
Who was the Rondon that was essentially appointed as the closer-in-waiting of the Tigers at the beginning of last decade? He was a Rondon too I believe.
Funny to think of some of the guys who shoulda/woulda/clouda been great. Neftali Feliz is one that came to mine. Texas should’ve never tried to make him a starter. Andrew Bailey showed a ton of promise early on. Fickle is the life of a baseball player, I suppose.
I really want the D’backs to do well in 2020 and beyond, b/c if so, it might push other teams to follow suit — as in not committing full tear-downs.
Nice move by the DBacks. They in a good position to potentially spend next year and build off what could be a potentially decent 2020.