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American League

Astros Sign Former Cubs Closer Hector Rondon To Two-Year Deal

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After losing Luke Gregerson to the St. Louis Cardinals last Wednesday and filling that hole with Joe Smith, the Houston Astros have added another right-hander in the bullpen, as Hector Rondon agreed to terms on Friday.

MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin reports, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, that Rondon’s deal is for two years worth $8.5 million.

Houston designated outfielder Preston Tucker for assignment, also on Friday, to make room for Rondon on the 40-man roster.

Rondon, 29, is coming off his fifth Major League season- all with the Chicago Cubs. He’s coming off a down year after posting a 4.24 ERA which was the highest since his rookie season in 2013 when it was 4.77 (2.44 from 2014-16). Despite allowing a career high 10 homers in 2017, Rondon posted the highest strikeout rate of his career, at 10.8 per nine innings.

A World Series winner in 2016 with the Cubs, Rondon is eager to win another with the defending champions.

“I’m blessed for this opportunity. I wanted to come here,” said Rondon on Friday, per MLB.com. “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 was at his best from 2014-15, saving 59 games in 67 chances with a 2.03 ERA in 136 games, allowing a combined six homers. In 2016, his ERA rose to 3.53 in 54 games with eight homers allowed, but did post a career-best 0.98 WHIP as he saved 18 games in 23 chances.

Brandon Taubman, Astros senior director of baseball operations, is excited to add Rondon to his emerging relief staff.

“He’s a really good pitcher,” said Taubman. “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.”

Overall, Rondon is 18-13 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 296 career games (all in relief), saving 77 games in 94 chances.

American League

Rangers Sign Rafael Montero

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The Texas Rangers have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with right handed pitcher Rafael Montero, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant.

Montero is still working back from Tommy John surgery, and was once a top prospect in the New York Mets organization , but struggled transitioning to the major league level, putting together a woeful 5.38 ERA over 192 1/3 innings pitched.

 

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American League

Astros Sign Robinson Chirinos to One-Year Deal

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The Houston Astros are signing free agent catcher Robinson Chirinos to a one-year deal with $5.75 million, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Chirinos had a career year in 2017 while playing for the Texas Rangers, but had a dramatic dip in production during the 2018 season and was no brought back by the team. Chirinos isn’t considered a defensive stud behind the plate either, and will join Max Stassi in the Astros catching rotation.

 

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American League

Angels Announce Coaching Staff

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The Los Angeles Angels have announced the coaching staff for brand new manager Brad Ausmus.

Pitching coach Doug White, hitting coach Jeremy Reed, and assistant hitting coach Shawn Wooten have already been announced as additions to Ausmus’ staff.

Long-time MLB infielder Mike Gallego will work with infielders and coach third base. Jose Molina, the former big league catcher, will work with catchers. Additionally, Jesus Feliciano will be slated to work with the outfielders and former slugger Paul Sorrento will join the hitting coaches team.

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