Minnesota Twins: 5 non-tendered free agents that could make intriguing signs
Rondon spent 2014-2016 as the Chicago Cubs closer recording 77 saves in that role. Then mid-2016 the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman to take over as closer on their way to the World Series. In 2017 the Cubs handed the closer role to Wade Davis, meanwhile Rondon struggled through the season giving the Cubs enough reasons to not want to pay his projected $6.2 million salary for 2018.
In 57.1 innings in 2017, Rondon had a 4.24 ERA and saw his walk rate double to 3.14 BB/9. While those numbers should cause some alarm, Rondon was still able to record a career-high strikeout rate with 10.83 SO/9 and had a FIP of 4.12 and xFIP at 3.43, both lower than his ERA on the season. Even with the loss of Wade Davis this offseason, the Cubs had grown frustrated enough with Rondon to view cutting him loose better than trying to work on any of his pitching issues.
Even if Rondon’s time with the Cubs is over, he will go down as a successful Rule 5 draft pick. In 2012 the Cubs selected Rondon from the Cleveland Indians. Rondon was once a top prospect in the Indians system but after struggling with injury (Tommy John and a fractured elbow) he was exposed to the Rule 5 draft. The Twins just happen to have a guy with influence who may remember a little bit about Rondon as an Indians prospect.
If Falvey still thinks highly of Rondon as a pitcher he could make a move on a player that certainly has a skill set that this Twins bullpen could use. Rondon’s fastball, that sits around 97 mph, and his strikeout rate that was just mentioned would bolster the back-end of the bullpen if Falvey believes Rondon’s walk issues are fixable.