Hector Rondon 'good with' relinquishing 9th to new closer Aroldis Chapman

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Cubs closer Hector Rondon is on-board with his team acquiring lefty flamethrower Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees and is willing to pitch in the seventh or eighth inning or "whenever" manager Joe Maddon wants him.

"I think it's good for our team," Rondon said before Monday's Cubs/White Sox game. "He's one of the best relievers we have right now. I'm good with that. I know I did a really good job in my role.

"You have a chance to get that guy, better take it."

Rondon has turned into a pretty good closer but Chapman is simply more accomplished which makes it an easy deal to accept, according to Maddon. This is no "lateral" move.

"When the team sees that the acquisition raises the level of their abilities it's a very easy sell," Maddon said. "It's like a lineup. When you throw one more guy into the lineup, what it does to the rest of the group. The same thing happens with the bullpen. You put the anchor on the backside it really permits you to do other (things)."

It means Cubs relievers will all move down an inning starting with Rondon who will function mostly as a set-up man. That leaves Pedro Strop and young Carl Edwards Jr. for the sixth and seventh innings. Newcomers Joe Nathan and Mike Montgomery can fit anywhere in the middle to late innings as well. With the additions of Nathan and Chapman the Cubs have added 543 career saves to their bullpen since Sunday.

"Anytime you get a guy that throws 105 mph on your team that's good news," catcher David Ross said. "We're a tightknit group. When you bring in a guy that will help you win its fun.

"I have a new mitt he can break in."

It doesn't hurt when the former closer can take his demotion without a complaint. Respect for Rondon increased in the clubhouse after hearing his take.

"I'm really happy," Rondon said. "I don't care if I pitch in the 8th or 7th. The only thing that matters is to come into the game and do my job."

Cubs players didn't seem to mind the prospect haul the team gave up to get Chapman. They have bigger things on their minds then a Class-A player coming back to haunt them someday.

"I'm not a big prospect guy," Ross said laughing. "This is my last year...It says they (the front office) are committed to winning."

Asked what he knew of Chapman Rondon responded: "Everyone knows his fastball. He's coming to us to throw cheese."

Maddon believes Chapman's presence "opens things up" for him in the back end of the pen. Rondon is still bound to get some save chances but the Cubs didn't give up their No.1 prospect and other players to play the matchup game with Chapman.

He's their man for the ninth inning now and for as long as the team plays into October.

"He has really different things about him that are really unique to him," Maddon said.
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