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Red Sox sign Héctor Rondón to a minor-league deal

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They add more relief depth to the roster.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

We love some mildly late Tuesday night news, don’t we folks? The Red Sox have continued to add to their pitching depth in preparation of the season, which kicks off on Thursday. After signing Tyler Olson earlier on Tuesday, they have added some right-handed depth this time around. According to a report from Masslive’s Chris Cotillo, Boston has signed Héctor Rondón to a minor-league deal.

Rondón gives the Red Sox a depth option who will presumably report to the Alternate Site in Worcester who possesses some big-league experience, and successful experience at that. From 2014 through 2019 he pitched for both the Cubs and the Astros, serving as the closer in Chicago for a couple of those seasons, and he pitched to a 136 ERA+ with a little more than a strikeout per inning and fewer than three walks per nine. That is a very good pitcher.

More recently, things haven’t been so hot. Rondón spent last season with the Diamondbacks, where he really struggled. Over 23 appearances and 20 innings of work, the righty pitched to a 7.65 ERA (61 ERA+) 23 strikeouts and 11 walks. He also allowed a whopping six homers in that time, nearly three per nine innings. Things didn’t get much better this spring, either, when pitched to a 7.71 ERA over seven innings with the Phillies, though the 8:2 K:BB ratio is pretty solid. Still, while the Phillies did some work to improve the bullpen this winter they had a historically bad unit in 2020 and he still couldn’t make that roster, which doesn’t speak well to how he looked in the spring.

With all of that being said, this is a minor-league deal so there really is no downside. If he gets to Worcester and they determine he just doesn’t have it anymore — while he was fine as recently as 2019, he’s also a 33-year-old reliever and sometimes those guys just lose it — then no harm no foul. But if he shows some life, then it’s not too difficult to see him getting a chance in the majors. He now joins a group of relievers who will serve as the first line of depth, standing alongside guys like Colten Brewer, Kevin McCarthy, Eduard Bazardo, Marcus Walden, and Olson.