The White Sox have signed reliever Bruce Rondon to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Rondon, who at one point flashed triple-digit heat and was slated to be the Detroit Tigers closer of the future, was non-tendered on Dec. 1. The guy is evidence that great gas is not enough, as he could never figure out how to put it all together on a consistent basis despite multiple opportunities to do so at the big league level. While he took a big step forward in 2016 with a fine 2.97 ERA in 37 games, that he was not tendered a contract by the Tigers after last season is not a shocker given that he had a 10.91 ERA in 15.2 innings in 2018 and then spent the final two months of the year in the minors.
Now he’ll take his talents to Glendale, Arizona this spring in an effort to make the White Sox roster. If he does, he’ll join Carlos Rodon. Sadly, however, Hector Rondon left the Cubs as a free agent, depriving us of the Rondon/Rodon singularity in Chicago.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.