It’s often thought that home runs are everything in baseball, but what good is a couple more runs if your team does not have the pitching to keep the lead?
The Red Sox bullpen is known for being dominant with a 3.15 ERA, even pitching 19 consecutive scoreless innings at one point in the season. The New York Yankees will have a large sum of power next season and with almost no good choices of power bats on the free agent market, it may be wise for the Red Sox to try to strengthen their bullpen. One way the Red Sox could start this would be to sign Matt Albers.
Albers played for the Red Sox in 2011 and 2012, but sported some ugly numbers, with a 3.81 ERA and 1.327 WHIP in 96 games. However, he has been much more dominant in the recent years.
Since 2012, Albers has only had two seasons with an ERA over 2.39 — 2013 and 2016. While his 2013 stats were not terrible, with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.270 WHIP, 2016 was not as good of a year for him.
During the 2016 season, Albers posted an ugly 6.31 ERA and 1.675 WHIP. In 2014 Albers pitched 10 innings but only gave up one earned run. Next season, Albers pitched 30 innings and sported a 1.21 ERA and 1.071 WHIP.
In 2017 Albers had a slightly higher ERA of 1.62, but he improved on many of his other stats. In 63 games, Albers only had 11 earned runs and a 0.852 WHIP. Out of the 233 batters Albers faced, only 52 of them got on base.
Albers is far from the perfect player, however. He has a history of getting injured, going as far back as 2011 when Albers injured his right shoulder. He only pitched 10 innings in eight games in 2014 due to tendonitis in his right shoulder, placing him on the 60-day DL until late October. Along with the broken finger in 2015, Albers has been placed on the DL in three of his last seven seasons.
The 35-year-old is expected to land a two-year deal, and as he only made $1.15 million last year, it’s fair to say he’ll sign a cheap contract.
I believe the best contract the Red Sox could offer Albers would be a two-year $3 million deal. A two-year deal seems fair since it’s not guaranteed that Albers would spend both years healthy, so if he is injured or underperforms the Sox won’t have a long and expensive contract that is useless to them. The $1.25 million a year is close to his previous contract, but if he wanted more I would go up to $2 million a year at most.
While the Red Sox have almost no need to enhance their bullpen if it can stay healthy, Albers would make a fine addition to the team.