(CBS) The Cubs tenure of reliever Hector Rondon could be over.
Rondon wasn’t tendered a contract by the Cubs ahead of the Friday evening deadline to so for arbitration-eligible players. He’s now a free agent.
The Cubs are free to bring Rondon, 29, back on the open market at any price they want, but it’s unclear what their intentions are or if he’d entertain that after being let go. What is clear is that the Cubs weren’t interested in Rondon at his projected salary figure in the arbitration process. Rondon was projected to make $6.2 million by MLBtraderumors.com.
Rondon was the team’s closer in 2015 and started the 2016 season in the same spot, but he struggled with a 4.24 ERA in 2017. He made $5.8 million last season, when manager Joe Maddon relied on him in high-leverage situations more infrequently than before.
Rondon has spent his entire five-year big league career with the Cubs.
The Cubs did tender contracts to third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Addison Russell, infielder Tommy La Stella, right-hander Kyle Hendricks, reliever Justin Wilson and reliever Justin Grimm, which ensures they’ll be part of the 2018 roster. Most of those were procedural no-brainers, though there was some suspense in the Grimm case. Grimm made 50 appearances for the Cubs but was off his game with a 5.53 ERA that necessitated trips to Triple-A. He made $1.825 million in 2017 and is projected to garner around $2.4 million in arbitration.
This is the first time Bryant, the 2016 National League MVP, is arbitration eligible. He will likely come close to receiving the record payment for a first-year arbitration-eligible player, which was set by Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard’s $10 million figure in 2008.
In other news Friday night, catcher Taylor Davis, who wasn’t arbitration eligible, was also non-tendered and reliever Matt Carasiti was granted his release.