Rondon, 27, joins a new team for the first time after spending the first 10 seasons of his professional career in the Tigers organization. Rondon has exceptional velocity, averaging 98.5 mph on his fastball as a major-leaguer and frequently throwing heaters over 100 mph. He was long thought to be the Tigers’ closer of the future, but he was never really able to put it all together in Detroit, posting a 5.00 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP with 133 strikeouts and 52 walks over 111.2 innings while collecting just seven saves in 16 chances through four big-league seasons. It looked as if Rondon may have finally been ready to live up to the hype in 2016 as he posted a 2.97 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over 37 appearances, but he regressed last year and had a 10.91 ERA and 1.98 WHIP in 21 games.
Rondon, who was non-tendered by the Tigers in December, joins a slew of veteran relievers who have signed minor-league contracts with the ChiSox and expect to compete for big-league bullpen jobs. In addition to Rondon, that group includes Jeanmar Gomez, Xavier Cedeno, and Rob Scahill, as well as veterans Chris Beck, Chris Volstad and Michael Ynoa, who remained in the organization after being outrighted off the club’s 40-man roster earlier in the offseason.