Chicago Cubs: Why was Justin Grimm’s contract tendered?

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Former Chicago Cubs closer and late-inning reliever Hector Rondon’s contract was non-tendered Friday, making him a free agent but why wasn’t the same thing done for reliever Justin Grimm?

That’s a question I currently don’t understand, but let’s discuss.

Hector Rondon spent five seasons with the Chicago Cubs. Before the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman in 2016, he was the closer saving 77 games in a three-season span between 2014 and 2016.

He was a Cubs Rule 5 Draft selection in 2012, who was coming off multiple injuries with his time in the Cleveland Indians organization.

However, the front office saw something. Rondon was the Indians Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009.

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All in all, he exceeded the Cubs expectations with his tenure in Chicago. When the news broke Friday afternoon, all I saw were tweets showing remembrance of sweeping the San Francisco Giants in a series at Wrigley field in August of 2015 and clinching the NLDS against its rival St. Louis Cardinals that same season.

Many forget the Cubs were the hottest team in baseball in 2015, playing with talent that many said were ahead of schedule to develop.

Rondon has been inconsistent since the 2015 season ended, however. That’s what lead to this transaction, I believe.

In 2015, Rondon posted a 1.67 ERA but a 3.53 in 2016 and 4.24 in 2017. Like many of the Cubs relievers, he struggled to throw strikes. He walked 20 batters in 2017, which was his most since his rookie season in 2013 (25).

According to’s Adam McCalvy, Grimm was “most on the bubble.” 

Since 2015, Justin Grimm wasn’t much better. The last two seasons the middle relief pitcher has spent multiple stints at Triple-A Iowa. He posted a 1.99 ERA in 2015, but that rose to 4.10 in 2016 and 5.53 in 2017. He’s walked 50 batters in the last two seasons. He gave up 12 home runs last season, the most since he pitched for the Texas Rangers.

He lost Joe Maddon’s trust long before the 2017 season.

So, why was his contract tendered?

He’s only earned $1.825 million over the last two seasons, which will likely rise, while Rondon was set to earn over $6 million in 2018 due to the arbitration process.

Next: FanSided Faux Winter offseason

The Cubs hope that Grimm can rebound from the last few seasons considering he’s only 28 years old. It would be huge for a bullpen that was proven to be too reliant on Carl Edwards and Wade Davis in 2017.

One thing is for sure, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are going Christmas shopping for some pitching help once the Winter Meetings arrive.