Should Indians Reunite With Matt Albers In 2015?

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Albers A Comfortable Shoe For Indians & Francona

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As the Cleveland Indians build their roster for the 2015 season, Wahoo’s on First will be breaking down players that the Indians could target into one of three categories – Ugly, Ruggedly Handsome, and Sexy.

An Ugly player (easy-to-spot warts) is a player that will be signed to a minor league contract that is coming off poor performance or has battled injury.

The contract will more than likely be a minor league deal with an invite to spring training but could also include a major league salary if the player makes opening day roster.

The Ruggedly Handsome (multiple teams will be targeting) player is defined as a player that doesn’t have a qualifying offer attached to them, is more than likely going to sign a 1-2 year deal ranging anywhere from $7 million for a one-year deal to over $20 million for a two=year deal.

The Sexy player (top-tier free agent) is a free agent that will command a multi-year deal and may cost a draft pick. These players are considered franchise changers or the last piece of the puzzle depending on your view of where the Indians stand heading into the winter.

PLAYER: Matt Albers

LIST: Ugly 

Type Of Contract: Minor League With Major League Language + Incentives

2014 Contract Status: $2.2 million with Houston Astros – Option For 2015 At $3 million Declined ($200K Buyout)

Last 3 Seasons:

Opened the 2012 seasons with the Boston Red Sox where he had spent the 2011 season with Terry Francona. He was dealt from Boston to Arizona along with outfielder Scott Podsednik in exchange for reliever Craig Breslow.

Overall between Boston and Arizona in 2012 he went 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA (16ER/60.1IP) and had a groundball rate of 55.3 percent. Over the winter, he was included along with Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw in the package that went to the Cleveland Indians in the three-team trade with the Cincinnati Reds that landed the Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorious from the Reds and Tony Sipp and Lars Andersons from the Indians. The Reds received Shin-Soo Choo and cash while they Reds sent Drew Stubbs to the Indians to complete the trade.

His 2013 season was very strong, working in 56 games posting a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 3.14 (22ER/63IP) while only allowing two home runs and registering a groundball rate of 63.8 percent.  His performance with the Indians netted him a two-year deal with the Houston Astros that paid him $2.2 million in 2014 and included a second year worth $3 million and a $200K buyout.

After just eight April appearances with the Astros (0.90 ERA), he was placed on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis that kept him on the shelf for the remainder of the season, ultimately leading to the Astros to decline his 2015 option.

Why Cleveland?

The  Indians bullpen in 2015 should include Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Kyle Crockett, and Scott Atchison. While Atchison is a great groundball pitcher in his own right, he is also a very versatile reliever able to work multiple innings, etc. The addition of a healthy Matt Albers wold give the Indians a secondary groundball pitcher who could be used to lessen the utilization of Atchison, as well as be used in the middle innings to try to get the much-needed groundball while keeping Atchison ready to go later in the game.

Type Of Contract:

The Indians should offer him a minor league contract (which would not require a 40-man spot), with a major league agreement should he make the team either out of spring training or during the season. For Albers, he’d come to an organization that knows him and won’t rush him until he is 100 percent healthy.

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