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White Sox acquire Jose Rondon, and other reading

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A look at the newest acquisition, plus Picks to Click from the world of baseball

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Cincinnati Reds v San Diego Padres
Jose Rondon
Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

The White Sox completed another trade Wednesday, acquiring infielder Jose Rondon from the San Diego Padres for cash considerations.

Rondon, whose name does actually have 2 N’s, is a 23-year-old who signed with the Angels out of Venezuela in 2011. The Padres acquired him in 2014, and he played in eight games with the major league club in 2016. Those eight games did not go well, as his biggest weakness was on full display: he’s a banjo hitter. His reputation is that of an excellent defender who can play an above-average shortstop, but he’s got some work to do with the bat.

In 2017, Rondon split time between AA and AAA, and played in just 78 games because of a pair of DL stints, one for a hamstring issue. He hit .293/.343/.433 in AA, and .282/.330/.412 in a shorter stint in El Paso. Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs gave him a 45 FV prior to 2017 based on the strength of his defense, but another season of mediocrity has likely pushed him closer to a future utility role.

Acquiring Rondon is a fairly minor deal, given that his bat limits his upside, but with Jake Peter just traded away, maybe the Sox needed a new prospect in the middle infield department. He can challenge Tyler Saladino for a spot on the roster as the backup to Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson, who will play close to every day anyway. This move also fills the last spot of the 40-man roster.

Picks to Click

  • Tim Anderson did an interview on The Score last week, and he sounds confident and optimistic going into 2018. He also creates a new word, “learning-est”:

“I feel like I’m learning,” Anderson said. “I feel like this last season was one of the learning-est seasons for me, as in going inside as a hitter, as in the thinking part of it and kind of having an idea of what to do when you’re in the box.

  • The big news around baseball this offseason is that there hasn’t been big news in a long time. The Angels and Yankees have already done the bulk of their work, and now nobody’s biting on the big free agents or making bold trades. Theories abound on why this happening—the new luxury tax, teams waiting a year for a much stronger free agent class—but Dave Cameron hypothesizes that the inaction is due to the fact that four of the divisions look to be non-competitive, and no teams on the bubble have a clear path to contention. (Also, Cameron is leaving the blogging world to join the Padres front office.)
  • Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards wrote an article about Outs Above Average, one of the new Statcast-based defensive metrics, and how it shows promise in its year-to-year reliability (although it still needs some improvement).
  • The White Sox released start times for all of their home games this year. Eight of the 12 home games in April will be day games—unfortunate if you have to work, but probably for the best if you’ve ever sat in the park on a frigid April night.
  • Grant Brisbee has been slowly descending into madness this offseason due to the lack of activity. Instead of covering trades and free agent signings, he’s trying to determine which ERAs have or haven’t been achieved over the course of a season.
  • The Astros are reportedly in talks to acquire Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. That’s fine and everything, but some leaker really jumped the gun yesterday, and everyone from Jon Morosi to Ken Rosenthal reported that the deal was basically done before having to walk it back.