The Detroit Tigers non-tendered relief pitcher Bruce Rondon, who has been in the organization for 10 years.
The Detroit Tigers chose to non-tender volatile relief pitcher Bruce Rondon, making him a free agent.
They offered contracts to the other nine players on their 40-man roster; including James McCann, Jose Iglesias, and Nick Castellanos.
Once considered the closer of the future, Rondon is coming off an ugly 2017 season.
The soon to be 27-year-old threw 15 2/3 innings for the Tigers and gave up 19 earned runs, striking out 22 and walking 10. He was demoted to Triple-A Toledo and was not recalled when rosters expanded in September.
His 10.91 ERA and 1.97 WHIP were enough for the Tigers to cut him loose.
It’s possible the Tigers will bring Rondon back on a minor league deal, but that seems unlikely. Throughout his tenure the Tigers had concerns about Rondon’s work ethic and weight, even sending him home early during the 2015 season.
Rondon has a blazing fastball, averaging 97.1 MPH last season and 98.5 in his career. His 10.72 career K/9 is going to tempt many teams to give him an opportunity, but his career 4.19 BB/9 (5.74 last year) will limit his value.
Rondon will likely sign a minor league deal elsewhere, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him given a chance at the major league level next season. Perhaps a change of scenery will be good for the flamethrower, as he seems to have worn out his welcome in Detroit.
For the Tigers, non-tendering Rondon will save them a little over one million dollars. It also gives them an extra spot on the 40-man roster.
The Tigers’ roster now sits at 38 players. That gives them two chances to pick someone up in the Rule 5 draft, where they have the first pick.
The Tigers have already seen some pitching depth depart this offseason. After trading Justin Wilson last July, the Tigers saw Jeff Ferrell and Myles Jaye leave via free agency as well.
Shane Greene headlines a bullpen that could benefit from a few free agent additions. Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, Warick Saupold, Daniel Stumpf and Joe Jimenez will all compete for spots in the 2018 pen.
The Tigers rebuild will proceed without Rondon. He joins a long list of Tigers who have departed in the last year as the Tigers look to reshape their roster for the future.