White Sox right-handed reliever Bruce Rondon has elected free agency. Rondon was outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte last week, but declined the assignment and will try to latch onto another organization before the end of the year.
Rondon, 27, signed a minor league pact with the White Sox in February. He never quite hit his stride with the team, however, and finished a four-month run in the majors with an underwhelming 8.49 ERA, career-worst 8.2 BB/9, and 12,1 SO/9 through 29 2/3 innings.
While there are still some things working in Rondon’s favor — a fastball that tops out around 97 m.p.h. and a SO/9 that regularly crests the 12.0 mark — it’s highly unlikely that he’ll return to the majors again this season. His track record suggests he’s far better suited to the minors, where he holds a career 2.72 ERA, 5.2 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 over 10 seasons.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.