Free-agent reliever Matt Albers in agreement with #Brewers on a two-year contract, sources tell The Athletic. Deal is pending a physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2018
Albers, 35 this season, comes off of a successful season with Washington that began with a minor league deal and culminated in a 61 inning, 1.63 ERA season with 63 strikeouts and just 17 walks.
Albers, who turned 35 on Jan. 20, had a 1.62 ERA in 61 innings for the #Nationals last season, striking out 63, walking 17. He had joined Nats on minor-league deal, got released at end of spring training, then signed another minor-league deal with WAS, returning to majors 4/9.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2018
Albers, 35, posted 1.62 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 61 innings for Nationals last year. He'll earn $2.5 million base in 2018 & 2019. Bonuses start to kick in at 35 games, and he'd earn an additional $1 million per year in bonuses by appearing in 65+ games #Brewers— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 29, 2018
Albers’ career began in 2006 with the Astros and has meandered through Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, back to Houston, to the White Sox, and then to the Nats. In other words, pretty typical reliever type stuff.
Last year’s numbers of K/9 was 9.3 with a BB/9 of 2.3. A stellar WHIP of 0.85 was a career best. He allowed 0.9 HR’s per nine innings pitched. He has posted a groundball rate of 52.2% and flyball rate of 30.2% for his career, and last year was right there at 51% and 30.3%.
Albers’ slider usage percent was at a career high of 27.9% (career 11.6%), at the expense of his fastball usage (down to 67.3% from 72.4% career) and curveball usage (down to 0.2% from 12.4% career. His fastball had more pop, though, at 93.3 mph, up from 92.6 career. His slider sits in the 86-87 range. He generally relies on sink on his fastball.
Albers looks to fill a spot in the sixth-seventh-eighth area along with Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jacob Barnes, and can probably be viewed as a replacement for Andrew Swarzak, lost in free agency to the Mets.
The money isn’t such that it affects efforts to sign or trade for another starting pitcher, but it decreases the chances of some of the younger bullpen arms (like Taylor Williams or Aaron Wilkerson) or signees like Yovani Gallardo to make the team.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs