2:51pm: The White Sox formally announced that Albers’ option has been declined and also announced that right-hander Daniel Webb has been released. The 27-year-old Webb pitched just one inning for Chicago this season before hitting the disabled list with an arm injury that ultimately proved to be a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Webb had Tommy John surgery this past June.
The hard-throwing Webb had a nice season with the ChiSox in 2014, posting a 3.99 ERA in 67 2/3 innings out of the ’pen. However, his 7.7 K/9 rate was lower than one would expect of someone that averaged better than 95 mph on his heater, and Webb also averaged 5.6 BB/9 that year. He labored through an unsuccessful 2015 season (it’s not known how much, if at all, the arm troubles impacted that year) prior to his abbreviated 2016 season.
While he’ll miss at least the first half of next season, Webb could be an interesting option as a depth piece/reclamation project for a team seeking bullpen help. He’s controllable through at least the 2020 season via arbitration as it stands and could almost certainly be had on a minor league pact this winter.
12:37pm: The White Sox will decline their $3MM club option on right-hander Matt Albers, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Albers will instead earn a $250K buyout and once again enter the free-agent market in search of a new club.
Albers, 34 in January, pitched 51 1/3 innings out of the Chicago bullpen this season but struggled through the worst results of his career, logging a 6.31 ERA along the way. Typically a ground-ball specialist, Albers saw his ground-ball rate dip from 58.6 percent in 2015 to 48.6 percent in 2016, and his K/9 rate (6.8 to 5.3) and BB/9 rate (2.2 to 3.3) each trended in the wrong direction as well. On the plus side for Albers, he did recover the velocity he lost in a 2015 campaign that was shortened by a broken finger. After averaging 89.7 mph on his heater in 2015, he was back up to 92 mph in 2016 — not far off from his career average of 92.6 mph.
While the 2016 campaign was nightmarish for Albers, it’s worth pointing out that he’s long been a quality bullpen piece prior to this year. From 2012-15, Albers logged a stellar 2.32 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate near 60 percent in 170 2/3 innings of work with the Astros, D-backs, Indians, Red Sox and White Sox.