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San Francisco Giants closer candidate: Hector Rondon

DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 03: Pitcher Hector Rondon #30 of the Houston Astros throws in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 03: Pitcher Hector Rondon #30 of the Houston Astros throws in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Giants will be in the market for a new closer this winter with All-Star Will Smith likely to sign elsewhere. Could Hector Rondon be the answer?

It’s unlikely the San Francisco Giants will shell out the money to re-sign Will Smith, who is arguably the best relief pitcher on the free-agent market this winter.

As a team that is building toward the future, the Giants will not be in the market to spend big on a high-profile ninth-inning arm, but there are plenty of potential under-the-radar targets that could provide excellent value.

We’ve already touched on Chicago Cubs setup man Steve Cishek as a potential closer target:

Another name worth considering on this year’s free-agent market is Hector Rondon.

The 31-year-old also has ties to the Cubs, having spent the better part of three seasons as the team’s closer before signing with the Houston Astros and moving into a setup role.

He landed a two-year, $8.5 million deal last time he hit the open market and made good on that contract, posting a 3.46 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 with 15 saves and 28 holds in 125 appearances.

Prior to that, he spent five seasons with the Chicago Cubs after joining the club as a Rule 5 selection, eventually pitching his way into the team’s closer role.

He converted 59 of 67 save chances in 2014 and 2015, posting a 2.03 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 8.9 K/9 in 136 appearances during that span.

He was supplanted in the closer’s role following the addition of Aroldis Chapman at the trade deadline in 2016 and then Wade Davis in 2017, but he has remained a quality late-inning reliever.

His fastball was still sitting at 96.9 mph this season and his plus slider held opposing hitters to a .179 BAA, so he still has the stuff to fill a late-inning role.

Next. Who was the Giants' biggest disappointment in 2019?

On something similar to the two-year, $8.5 million contract he signed last time he hit the open market, Rondon could bring some welcome experience to a young San Francisco Giants bullpen.

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