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Astros agree with Rondon on 2-year deal

Former Cubs closer eyed as candidate for bounceback
MLB.com @basebollie

In a move to further bolster their bullpen, the World Series-champion Astros on Friday agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free-agent right-hander Hector Rondon, the club announced.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported the two-year deal is worth $8.5 million.

In a move to further bolster their bullpen, the World Series-champion Astros on Friday agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free-agent right-hander Hector Rondon, the club announced.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported the two-year deal is worth $8.5 million.

"I'm blessed for this opportunity. I wanted to come here," Rondon said in a news conference on Friday. "I've already won a championship, and I want to win another. I feel close to this group. After just a few hours, I already feel a connection with these guys."

Rondon, whom the Cubs non-tendered on Dec. 1, was garnering interest from a number of clubs, but ultimately lands with Houston, which also signed right-handed reliever Joe Smith on Wednesday.

Smith officially joins Astros' bullpen

The 29-year-old Rondon had a down year in 2017 with Chicago, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in 57 1/3 innings, but could be a bounceback candidate after recording a career-high 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

"He's a really good pitcher," Astros senior director of baseball operations Brandon Taubman said on Friday. "He has a high performance record. We have lost some of our veteran guys in the bullpen and we hope he can guide the other guys along."

Video: Rondon feels fortunate to join the Astros

A five-year Major League veteran, Rondon has spent his entire career with the Cubs. He is 18-13 with a 3.22 ERA and 77 saves in 296 1/3 innings in the Majors and could be used in a variety of ways out of the Houston bullpen. He saved 59 games in 2014-15 and has appeared in at least 45 games in every season of his career.

"We were happy out of the gate that a mutual interest existed," Taubman said. "We feel good about the state of our bullpen right now."

The Astros designated outfielder Preston Tucker for assignment to open a spot for Rondon on their 40-man roster.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

Houston Astros, Hector Rondon