Last season, Andrew Albers was a welcome surprise within the Twins organization. Seemingly coming from nowhere, he earned a late season call-up and dazzled in his first two major league starts, throwing 18 1/3 scoreless innings, leading many to believe that he could be a savior to the weathered Twins rotation. However, a big issue was his inability to strike out hitters, an issue especially as strikeout rates have skyrocketed recently, and today Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reported that Albers has an agreement in place to join the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO.
Overall last year in the majors, Albers finished with a 4.05 ERA and displayed pinpoint control, but armed with a mid-80s fastball, he struck out only 3.75 batters per 9 innings, which was half the major league average last season. Players of that type rarely succeed in the majors, and the signings of Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, and Mike Pelfrey and continued interest in other free agent pitchers showed that Albers would have a tough time cracking the rotation for a second consecutive year.
Berardino states that Albers should earn over $500,000 in Korea, which is roughly $100,000 above the major league minimum in the States, and with a high probability that Albers would not spend the entire season in the majors, it seems like a sound financial decision on his end. Plus, Berardino also notes that after one year in Korea, Albers can become a free agent, whereas in MLB he wouldn't reach free agency until 2019.
This move will leave the Twins' 40-man roster at 39, so we can once again argue over the possibility of another free agent signing in the near future. Oh, and as for the title... I'm referencing an angry fan's comment to Aaron Gleeman shortly after Andrew Albers' debut.