12:25PM: Rondon will earn $1.5MM if he makes Philadelphia’s Major League roster, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The righty can also earn up to $1MM in additional bonus incentives.
11:25AM: The Phillies announced that right-handers Hector Rondon and David Paulino have been signed to minor league contracts. Both pitchers will receive invites to the team’s big league Spring Training camp.
Rondon hit the open market in October when the Diamondbacks bought out his $4MM 2021 club option for $500K. It wasn’t an unexpected decision considering how Rondon struggled in his only season with Arizona, posting a 7.65 ERA over 20 innings with below-average 23.7% strikeout percentage and 12.4K-BB%. Rondon also allowed six homers over his 20 frames of work. This performance was a stark departure from the solid work Rondon delivered over his previous six seasons with the Cubs and Astros, so Philadelphia is surely hoping it has added some much-needed bullpen help at the lowered cost of a minor league contract.
Rondon posted a 3.06 ERA over 361 1/3 innings from 2014-19 with a 25.3K%, 18.7K-BB%, and 48.8% grounder rate, formerly serving as the Cubs’ closer and contributing to Chicago’s 2016 world championship team. A consistent hard thrower over his career, Rondon’s fastball velocity dipped slightly to a 95.6mph average in 2020, though like all his stats, that could be attributed to the odd nature of the most recent season rather than a potential sign of decline heading into his age-33 season.
Paulino last appeared in the majors in 2018, pitching with the Blue Jays’ Triple-A club in 2019 after posting a 5.48 ERA over 42 2/3 career MLB innings with Houston and Toronto from 2016-18. Once a top-100 prospect, Paulino has battled injuries and was issued an 80-game PED suspension in 2017. Only a few days shy of his 27th birthday, Paulino could still be something of a late bloomer, so there’s no risk for the Phillies in bringing him to camp and seeing if some further potential can be unclocked.