Bruce Rondon was considered the Detroit Tigers ‘closer of the future’ for years. His tenure with the Tigers ended when Rondon was non-tendered last week. Rondon is a free agent now, and the Milwaukee Brewers are looking to add to their bullpen. Could the Brew Crew add a power arm to their late inning arsenal?
Bruce Rondon throws hard. In his rookie year, he was capable of hitting triple digits. He still sits in the 97-98 MPH range four years later. He also boasts a solid slider to compliment his high 90s heat. Rondon measures at about 6’3″, and weighs in around 275 lbs. He’s pretty much the anti-Zach Davies.
How did 2017 go for Bruce Rondon?
Not well. Rondon struck out 22 in 15 2/3 innings of work. The problem is that he also allowed 10 walks and 19 earned runs. His 10.91 ERA looks ugly no matter how it’s presented. He had a bad season that saw him shuttle between Triple-A and Detroit. The talent is still there. Rondon looks like a pitcher in need of a change of scenery.
The good news is that he hasn’t suffered any setbacks since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014. The bad news is that Rondon has struggled his weight for most of his career. 2017 was a rough year for his physical conditioning. The Brewers will need to stay on top of his diet and weight if he signs in Milwaukee.
What make the Milwaukee Brewers a fit for Rondon?
The Milwaukee Brewers need cost-effective options with upside. Rondon won’t cost a ton, and he has a ton of untapped potential. He has twp years of arbitration remaining after 2018 before he heads to free agency in 2021.
Adding power arms to the bullpen is a priority for the off season, and Rondon could represent an inexpensive option. He’s posted a sub-3.00 as recently as 2016, and he’s never posted a K/9 below 9.00 at the Major League level.
Between injuries, weigh issues, and ineffectiveness, Rondon’s tenure in Detroit was frustrating for all parties. However, there are hundreds of cases of relievers struggling early in their career and turning it around in another city. Rondon is only 27-years old, and has several seasons ahead of him. Given his ability and relative youth, he makes a ton of sense for the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen in 2018.