Now-former Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker referred to reliever Matt Albers as the “find of the year” in baseball last season after the veteran right-hander signed on in D.C. in late January, tested the market when he was released in late March, and returned to the organization a few days later before getting the call to the big leagues in early April.
Albers, 35, posted a 1.62 ERA, a 3.40 FIP, 17 walks (2.30 BB/9) and 63 Ks (9.30 K/9) in 63 games and 61 IP for the Nationals last season, finishing the 2017 campaign ranked 2nd among NL relievers in WHIP (0.85), with the second-lowest BAA (.165) and third-lowest ERA (1.62, behind only Phillies/Rockies’ righty Patt Neshek, 1.59, and the LA Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen, 1.32).
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
This afternoon, Albers reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, cashing in on his big season in Washington with the first multi-year deal of his career.
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo talked last September about the 12-year veteran’s contributions to what was a weak bullpen at the start of the season before the Nationals revamped things with moves before and at the non-waiver deadline.
“[Albers] not only made the club, he cemented the bullpen when we needed him most,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies.
“And then when we got some reinforcements, has continued to be a key contributor, getting key outs at key times, and [he] is gonna be a big part of us going into the playoffs.”
In the first postseason appearances of his career, Albers tossed 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings in the Nationals’ NLDS matchup with the Chicago Cubs.
According to reports this afternoon, the veteran reliever signed a 2-year/$5M contract with the Brewers.
Should the Nationals have brought him back? Would you have given the 35-year-old a two-year deal?
Did the Nats, who are rumored to still be interested in adding arms to the mix in the bullpen, miss an opportunity to bring a reliable arm back into the bullpen?