Milwaukee Brewers: Is Hector Rondon a fit for the bullpen?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Hector Rondon
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Hector Rondon /

The Milwaukee Brewers need to add a few pieces to their bullpen this off season. The Chicago Cubs just non-tendered Hector Rondon. Should the Brew Crew add the former Cubs reliever for 2018?

Hector Rondon went from a closer for the rebuilding Cubs to a key bullpen piece for the team that won the World Series. Rondon is on the open market for the first time. He’s sure to draw interest, but could he fit as a part of a bridge to Corey Knebel for 2018?

Hector Rondon has posted a K/9 over 10.00 in each of the last two seasons. He closed for the Chicago Cubs from 2014 until he was replaced by Aroldis Chapman in 2016. Rondon appeared to struggle last year, but his 3.43 xFIP indicates that his 4.24 actual ERA was a mirage.

Why was Rondon non-tendered?

This is a headscratcher. Rondon has a few years of arbitration left, and age wasn’t a factor. Rondon will turn 30 before Opening Day 2018. He was left off the NLDS roster, but he was added to the bullpen for the NLCS. His elbow was a concern for the Cubs during the 2017 season, but he was healthy enough to have a roster spot against the Dodgers.

Rondon was diagnosed with bone chips in his right elbow in mid-September. He also had issues with his back and his knee during the 2017 season. The Cubs may have concerns over his long-term health, and that could have figured into his release.

Should the Brewers have any interest?

The Milwaukee Brewers have to see what kind of shape Rondon is in. If his elbow is sound, his knee is healthy, and his back feels better, they should make an offer. Rondon has a solid fastball-slider combo that plays well in the late innings. He would provide the high-leverage arm that the Brewers bullpen needs in front of Knebel.

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The Milwaukee Brewers are in need of low-cost, quality arms to bridge the gap between their starting rotation and Knebel. Rondon may require a multi-year deal, but he won’t break the Brewers’ budget. He earned $5.8 million last season, and could sign for less per season if he gets a multi-year deal. Given the multiple concerns over Rondon’s health, he’s unlikely to improve upon his 2016 salary, but the Brewers need to do their homework. If there are still questions about Rondon’s health, they need to stay away.