JAN. 19: The Angels have announced the signing, though some new details on the deal have emerged today. Alburquerque’s contract is non-guaranteed, according to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. While the contract does give Alburquerque a 40-man roster spot, the team is only responsible for up to one quarter of his $1.1MM base salary if he is cut prior to opening day, Gonzalez reports.
JAN. 15: Alburquerque will receive a $1.1MM guarantee with the Angels and can earn additional money through incentives, tweets Heyman.
7:11am: The Angels and right-hander Al Alburquerque are in agreement on a one-year, Major League contract, reports Jon Heyman (via Twitter). The 29-year-old MDR Sports Management client has spent his entire Major League portion of his career to date as a member of the Tigers but was non-tendered this past December.
The hard-throwing Alburquerque has never struggled to miss bats in the Major Leagues, as evidenced by a lifetime 11.0 K/9 rate and 14.1 percent swinging-strike rate. However, control has indeed been a problem for the right-hander, who has averaged 5.0 walks per nine innings over the life of his 225 innings in the big leagues. Alburquerque did take a step backwards in 2015 as well, as his velocity dipped to a still-strong 93.1 mph (down from 94.5 a couple of years ago), which resulted in a decline in the aforementioned K/9 (8.4) and swinging-strike (11.1 percent) rates.
With this new agreement, Alburquerque will slot into the Angels’ mix of right-handed setup men, in some ways serving as a replacement for young right-hander Trevor Gott, who was traded to the Nationals in exchange for new third baseman Yunel Escobar. He’ll join right-handers Joe Smith, Fernando Salas, Mike Morin, Cory Rasmus, Cam Bedrosian and Deolis Guerra as right-handed setup options behind closer Huston Street in Anaheim.
With four years, 147 days of Major League service time under his belt, Alburquerque can be controlled not only for the 2016 season but also for the 2017 season via arbitration, should he perform well in his new surroundings.