Milwaukee Brewers: What To Do With Matt Albers?
The Milwaukee Brewers face a troubling issue in their bullpen. A few pitchers that were dependable earlier in the season have become ineffective at a critical point in the season.
The Brewers have already sent Corey Knebel to Triple-A because he’s been ineffective. Now they face the same issue with Matt Albers.
Albers was a highly productive reliever during the first two months of the season. Then he injured himself, and he hasn’t been the same since. He went on the DL a second time and he still hasn’t gotten back into form.
On May 28th, Albers had a 1.08 ERA. In his 11 appearances since then, his ERA has ballooned to 7.24 after Tuesday’s outing.
If you exclude his two pitch, one hitter outing on August 24th, the last time Albers didn’t allow a run during an appearance was on June 8th, two and a half months ago. It’s now been seven straight appearances where he’s allowed 2+ runs when facing more than one hitter.
This cannot continue on what should be a playoff team.
What Can The Brewers Do About Albers?
They’ve already given him another DL stint so he could go on another rehab assignment and work through his issues. They’re not going to be able to do that again as the minor league season is winding down. So the DL is out of the question unless his injury is serious enough to cut short his season.
The only other options are to continue pitching him and hope he figures it out, or to designate Albers for assignment. DFAing Albers is looking more and more likely with every appearance he makes out of that bullpen.
Would They DFA Albers?
The big issue with that is Albers’ contract. He’s signed for 2019 as well, with a guaranteed $2.5 million coming to him next season. Would David Stearns willingly eat that much money for next season on a player that won’t be on his team? That’s a tough pill to swallow for a small market team that’s quickly losing payroll flexibility.
While I’m sure the Brewers at least put Albers through revocable waivers this month, he’s likely gone unclaimed and no one would consider trading for him given the way he’s been pitching.
Designating Albers for assignment seems a little extreme because of his contract situation, but the Milwaukee Brewers are trying to make the playoffs. Risking any more games due to putting Albers into games is not a smart idea.
Once the rosters expand, the Brewers can call up enough bullpen arms that won’t be stuck a man down if they decide to just not pitch Albers. They can hide him in that bullpen and just have him throw regular bullpen sessions before games because they know they won’t be putting him into the actual game that night.
If they can make it the next few days without having to use Albers again, that bullpen can be stacked with enough arms that Albers won’t have to pitch the rest of the year, and he can just focus on getting healthy for 2019.
If Albers was not under contract for next season, he likely would’ve been DFAed already. But that contract is what’s preventing the Milwaukee Brewers from straight up cutting him.