Jerry Crasnick of ESPN expects RHP Matt Albers to sign a two year deal sometime next week. Could the Milwaukee Brewers be that team?
A recap of the events surrounding Albers can be seen on MLB Trade Rumors. There is not currently a set deal for the reliever, but with the market moving as fast as it is, there will be soon. The Milwaukee Brewers have been very quiet. They signed Yovani Gallardo yesterday in a surprising move, but that can’t be it for them.
Though Albers pitched well in 2017, his ERA was over six the year prior. A two year deal is somewhat of a gamble for any team that will give the 34 year old the deal he wants. There is no telling how he will pitch, he could be lights out. He could also get lit up like a Christmas Tree. But, that doesn’t mean I won’t try.
There is one big difference between his successful 2017 and 2015(not many innings), and his unsuccessful 2016. According to Fangraphs, Albers increased the use of his curveball by roughly tow percent, while throwing his fastball nearly 75 percent of the time. That was a bad combination.
In order to give Albers the highest chance of success, he needs to be at or below 70 percent with his fastball. He also needs to very rarely, if ever throw his curveball. The breaking ball that works for him is the slider, when he throws it between 10 and 15 percent of the time. The rest of the percentage points go to his changeup.
The reason his curveball is not effective is that Albers is not looking to mow down hitters. He does not carry an Aroldis Chapman fastball in his arsenal. He uses his low 90’s fastball to get groundballs. In his 11 seasons in the MLB, only five have resulted in a less than 50 percent ground ball rate. That is why the slider is more effective for him.
Can He Repeat in 2018?
If he sticks to the plan of 2017, yes. With the pitch breakdown he uses during his highest success he creates a lot of soft contact. That is the key for him on the mound. His BAPIP might be higher than anticipated at .203, but that is obviously still pretty darn good.
Should the Brewers Sign Him?
They might need to out of necessity, but still I would advise against a two year deal. If they can get him for one, then sure sign him. Due to the inconsistency throughout his career, Albers in a two year contract is a scary thought.
The other side of that is Albers is 34 years old. The shelf life of a reliever is longer than a starter, but still longer deals for pitchers above 32, for me at least, is something to advise against. That being said, if the two year deal is well below the where the market has been, it would not be the worst thing in the world either.
Final answer is the Milwaukee Brewers should only sign him to a one year deal, or a cheap two year deal.
There is no question the Milwaukee Brewers need pitching help. Yovani Gallardo is not the answer to the pitching staff. But, a move of any kind was welcome. Now, more moves need to be made to bring more trust into the bullpen.