CBS Sports has confirmed a report from Chris Cotillo of The Springfield Republican that veteran reliever Hector Rondon has decided to retire. Rondon, 33, signed a MiLB deal with the Boston Red Sox back on April 3 but had not pitched a game in Boston this year. He wraps up an eight-year career as a reliever in which he pitched to a 3.49 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 1.2 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 and 4.6 fWAR in 444 appearances – largely as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
He was a key part of the Chicago bullpen for several years, including the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He was the primary closer from 2014 through mid-2016 before the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman for the World Series run. While never making an All-Star Game, Rondon had an incredibly successful run as Cubs closer for those years.
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Rondon came to the Cubs as a Rule 5 pick from the Cleveland Indians in 2012. Not much was known about him by many when he first came up in 2013. His minor league appearances were all with the Indians organization.
From 2014-2016, though, Rondon pitched to a cumulative 2.44 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 1.01 WHIP, 190 strikeouts and 77 saves in 190 appearances. He recorded a career-high 30 saves (out of 34 tries) in 2015 and put up a career-low 1.67 ERA.
That same season he struck out at least one batter in 50 of his 72 appearances and only gave up multiple runs in four of them. His high-90s fastball and wipeout slider mix allowed him to miss bats and surrender few walks.
His most memorable moment as a Cub was him recording the NLDS-clinching save in 2015 against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. He struck out two and gave up one hit in a scoreless inning to send the Cubs to the NLCS. Rondon was the first Cub to record a postseason series-clinching save at Wrigley Field.
During his time with Chicago, he pitched to a 3.22 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, struck out 303 hitters, walked 83 and converted 77 saves in 296 games.
While he had not pitched for the North Siders since 2017, Hector Rondon will be remembered as an important bullpen arm in the golden years of the team. Outside winning the World Series and a pennant, the final out of the 2015 NLDS is probably one of the best memories from recent years.