Pirates Claim Jorge Rondon Off Waivers From Orioles

The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed 27-year-old right-handed pitcher Jorge Rondon off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. He was designated for assignment last week when the Orioles claimed Vance Worley off waivers from the Pirates.

Rondon has pitched in the majors briefly with the Orioles, Cardinals and Rockies over the last two seasons. In 15.1 innings over 11 games, he has 12.33 ERA and a 2.48 WHIP, with ten walks and nine strikeouts. He had a 2.33 ERA in 60.2 innings this season in Triple-A. He spent ten seasons in pro ball, signing with the Cardinals back in 2006 out of Venezuela. Rondon has a 4.39 minor league ERA in 590 innings, averaging 4.1 walks and 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

UPDATE 11:55 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…

Rondon hasn’t had the best numbers in his brief time in the majors, but you can see why he keeps getting chances. He has averaged 95 MPH with his fastball the last two years, and has touched as high as 99. He also has a hard slider that was rated the best slider in the Cardinals’ system prior to the 2013 season. He was rated their number 24 prospect at the time. The fastball/slider combo has led to some great results in the minors, but he has yet to carry that success over to the majors in a small sample size.

This move has a similar feel to it as the Arquimedes Caminero move last year. You’ve got a high upside arm with a ton of velocity and a great breaking pitch, formerly a top prospect, who has yet to break into the majors in a small sample. Like Caminero last year, Rondon is out of options, meaning he’d have to make the MLB roster out of Spring Training, or be placed on waivers. He’s a little on the older side, turning 28 in February, but when you’ve got his stuff in the bullpen, age doesn’t matter as much.

There is a chance that Rondon could be placed on waivers later in the off-season, in order to try and pass through waivers to be outrighted to the minors. The fact that he made it to the Pirates means that he passed through every American League team, and every National League team except the Cardinals. The Pirates would seemingly have a good shot at getting him through waivers and keeping him around, although that’s something they’d want to try closer to Spring Training, as he would be eligible for minor league free agency at this point in the off-season.

  • Tim…it’s odd your 2 favorite teams keep claiming on each other. What gives?

  • Good analysis Tim!

  • Something to roll the dice on, but I’m not optimistic.

  • Why not try to pass him through now because it would likely just be a matter of the Cards passing on him as every other team just did, right?

    • From the teams standpoint, they may see it as having room to add him and no need to rush that move to get him through waivers. His stock isnt likely to change much from now until ST, and if they wait and try to slide him through while teams are cutting their rosters down it would seem like no one who passed on him in December would value him over whatever guy they have in house and are deciding on.

      • But the only team that didn’t just pass on him was the Cards, so they could put him on waivers right away and just hope the Cards don’t want him. That is, unless they have reason to believe that 1) the Cards would want him (after all, he started his career with them) or 2) a team that had passed on him would now claim him since the Pirates have a good track record of identifying talent.

        • as Tim just said- he would be eligible for minor league free agency if they put him on now

          • Oops–I missed that last item in Tim’s write-up and wasn’t aware of that rule. That clears it up.

  • Clyde Sukeforth, the old longtime scout from the old school, said “pitchers don’t reach their potential until they are 28”, so the Pirates have a short time to fix him.

  • Picking up a “power arm” for “free” is never a bad idea. The worst, you have a look and he’s gone, the best and you’ve got Caminero, Holdzkom etc for nothing and the valuie proposition is ++!

  • Remember, I ask a lot of stupid questions, but if he was DFA’s that
    must mean that we have to put him on the 40 man roster? Where?

    • The idea might only be to get him through waivers and keep him in the system. No harm in picking him up at this point

    • They have some open spots right now. And after the FAs and retirements, they’ll have at least two open spots after this move, and maybe two more, pending future moves. Whether he’ll stay on all off-season is another thing, but right now it’s about getting him in the system. Expect to see a lot of that at this time of year.