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Andrew Albers Rumors
JANUARY 30th: Albers has cleared unconditional release waivers, the Twins announced via press release. The procedural move allows Albers to sign as a free agent with Hanwha. Minnesota now has one empty spot on its 40-man roster.
JANUARY 29th, 8:49am: The Twins will receive roughly $500K in the exchange, a person with direct knowlegde of the situation tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).
7:40am: The Eagles have officially announced the signing of Albers to a one-year, $700K deal in addition to a $100K signing bonus, according to a report from Korean news agency Yonhap (hat tip: MyKBO.net's Dan Kurtz).
As the Yonhap report notes, Albers is the first foreign player to sign in KBO following the league's removal of the $300K salary cap on foreign players earlier this month. KBO also increased its per-team limit on foreign players from two to three. Albers will be joined on the Eagles by former Red Sox supplemental-rounder Caleb Clay and Felix Pie.
JAN. 23: The Twins have agreed to transfer starter Andrew Albers to the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), reports MLBTR's Steve Adams (via Twitter). Albers has agreed to terms with his new club as well, making the deal complete.
MLBTR learned that a deal was in the works two days ago. The 28-year-old Albers, who is represented by Blake Corosky of True Gravity Sports Management, was a great story last year for the Twins. After being dug out of the independent Canadian-American Association after 2010, Albers became Minnesota's minor league pitcher of the year for 2013. He also saw his first big league action, posting a 4.05 ERA in 60 innings. Though he struck out only 3.8 K/9, Albers allowed only 1.1 BB/9 and generated a 43.5% ground-ball rate.
The move across the Pacific represents a nice opportunity for Albers, who faced an uphill battle at a big league rotation spot after the Twins' offseason addition of three free agent starters. With a salary reportedly set to land in the "high six figures," Albers stands to earn significantly more than he would have if he ended up in the minors. He also gets a chance to test the open market next year, as he will become a free agent after his season with Hanwha.
9:43pm: The deal may be coming up against some friction, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The issue relates to Hanwha failing to follow MLB protocol by not notifying MLB of its intentions before negotiating with Albers.
As Berardino notes, the pitcher has reached a tentative agreement with his would-be new club on contract terms at this point.
6:31pm: Albers' agent, Blake Corosky, indicates that Albers is increasingly likely to land in Korea this year, reports Kevin Mitchell of Canadian outlet The StarPhoenix. At this point, Albers is waiting for the two clubs to reach agreement on the terms of their arrangement.
Albers would reportedly stand to earn a salary in the "high six figures," and would become a free agent following the season. If he stays in Minnesota, the 28-year-old would not be eligible for free agency until 2020, as he still has only 58 days of MLB service time. "The worst-case scenario," Corosky said semi-jokingly, "is he goes to spring training with the Twins — sort of what we expected five days ago."
12:50pm: The Twins and Eagles are negotiating a buyout of Albers, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Should the two teams finalize that agreement, Albers would likely head to KBO on a one-year deal worth roughly $1MM deal with the Eagles.
12:09pm: The Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization have shown interest in Twins lefty Andrew Albers, but the two sides have yet to come to an agreement, MLBTR has learned. While a deal is possible, an agreement would be a ways off, if one comes to fruition at all.
The 28-year-old Albers made 10 starts for the Twins in 2013 — his first taste of Major League action. The soft-tosser posted a solid 4.05 ERA with 3.8 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and a 43.5 percent ground-ball rate in an even 60 innings for Minnesota. The Twins plucked the Canadian southpaw out of the independent Canadian-American Association following the 2010 season, and he rose through the ranks to become the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year this past season. Albers posted a stellar 2.86 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 132 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level prior to his big league debut.
Should he remain with the Twins, Albers will be in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation alongside Vance Worley, Sam Deduno, Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson. Minnesota will have a front four of Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey, each of whom is guaranteed at least $5.5MM in 2014.