2016 stats: 54 appearances, 3.53 ERA, 58 K’s
Hector Rondon is being squeezed out in Chicago. Rondon was the Cubs closer for two a half seasons. That ended when Aroldis Chapman was brought in at the trade deadline in 2016. Rondon’s role diminished even further when the Cubs brought in Koji Uehara and new closer Wade Davis this off-season.
That decrease may have already started. Rondon’s appearances dropped from 72 in 2015, to 54 in 2016. That decrease in appearances may have been helped by a triceps injury suffered in August of last year. However, the right-handed heavy Cubs bullpen will not be a place Rondon will thrive in, in 2017.
Even though Rondon saw his role shrink in 2016, he still put up good numbers. He recorded a 3.53 ERA, and 0.98 WHIP in 51 innings pitched.
After struggling in the World Baseball Classic with Team Venezuela, many may be concerned about Rondon’s ability to shut down teams late.
With his play in the WBC in the back of his mind, manager Joe Maddon may be reluctant to use Rondon over more consistent options.
Expect to see Rondon’s appearances drop even further from the 2016 season. He will more than likely appear in 40-50 games for the Cubs in 2017. With that drop in appearances, it will be hard for Rondon to maintain consistency from outing to outing.