The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.45 million contract with reliever Matt Albers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The deal also includes a $3 milliion option for 2015, and is pending a physical.
Albers is the second bullpen addition for the Astros this month, joining Chad Qualls, who signed a two-year, $6 million contract last week. Both pitchers began their careers with the Astros in the mid-2000s, and were teammates in Houston in 2006 and 2007. Albers is a Houston native, so the fit makes sense in that regard.
Albers, who turns 31 in January, was 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 63 innings for the Indians in 2013 after being acquired from the Diamondbacks in the three-team trade that sent Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati last winter. He has spent time with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Indians over the last two seasons, being traded twice despite his solid numbers out of the bullpen.
In his two seasons with the Astros from 2006 to 2007, Albers was 4-13 with a 5.87 ERA in 36 appearances (20 starts). He was traded to the Orioles before the 2008 season as part of a package for Miguel Tejada, and was converted to a full-time reliever at that point. In 505.1 innings over eight major league seasons with the Astros (2006-2007), Orioles (2008-2010), Red Sox (2011-2012), Diamondbacks (2012) and Indians (2013), he is 25-31 with a 4.49 ERA, a number greatly inflated by his early struggles as a starter.
Although the Astros have already added both Qualls and Albers, they are still looking to add to their bullpen. According to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, a reunion with a third ex-Astro, Jose Veras, cannot be completely ruled out at this time. Sources indicate that the team is also looking at available left-handed relievers.
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