PHOENIX -- The D-backs took another step toward solidifying their bullpen Thursday by officially signing reliever Héctor Rondón to a one-year deal with a club option for 2021.
“I think, as we talked throughout the course of the offseason, we were looking to add power as well as experience that was going to contribute to the back end of our bullpen in what could be a variety of roles, but certainly in some type of leverage capacity,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. “We just felt like he fit those descriptions in a lot of ways for us.”
Rondón has experience in multiple bullpen roles, and he still has heat on his fastball, averaging 96.7 mph on his four-seamer with the Astros in 2019. He has racked up double-digit save totals in four different seasons, and he has amassed at least 50 innings in each of his seven Major League campaigns with the Cubs and Astros. The 31-year-old right-hander compiled a 3.46 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings over the past two seasons with Houston.
“They were really close to going to the playoffs,” Rondón said of his new club. “I think, as a player, those challenges for me are huge.
“I like the way they play and the way they think. It was an easy decision for me to go to the D-backs. I feel like we’re close to winning and we're close to going to the playoffs."
“I would say [the bullpen is] coming into form. I would not say anything is set,” Hazen said. “I would hope that everyone comes in ready to compete. I think there’s probably still some opportunity for competition. I think we have some good young pitchers pushing up who will be looking for opportunities to take roles, probably more likely in the bullpen than the rotation at this point. I think a lot of the heavy lifting on the pitching staff has probably been done at this point.”