Rondon just turned 27 last month, and he has averaged an eye-popping 97.8 mph on his fastball over his 111 2/3 career Major League innings. Despite this promise, however, it was no surprise when the Tigers non-tendered Rondon rather than pay him a projected $1.2MM in arbitration salary. Rondon has struggled to translate his ability to miss bats into consistent performance, with a career 5.00 ERA including an ugly 10.91 ERA in 15 2/3 frames in 2017. He also faced off-the-field criticism about his maturity and conditioning, culminating in the Tigers sending him home before the end of the 2015 season due to a perceived lack of effort.
A fresh start with a new organization certainly appeared to be necessary for Rondon to get his career on track, and he’ll now get another chance within the AL Central. Rondon will be one of many veterans competing for spots in the Chicago bullpen, joining other offseason minor league signings like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez, Rob Scahill, and T.J. House.