Matt Albers' 2015 success seemed fairly unsustainable, so his 2016 certainly came as a bit of a surprise. His ERA skyrocketed to 6.31, his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 and he allowed nearly two homers per nine innings. Although his stats weren't necessarily good at home (4.21 ERA, 1.36 WHIP), his road numbers really dragged him down, as he posted a 8.42 ERA and 1.99 WHIP while striking out fewer batters than he walked. Albers' control was poor (3.3 BB/9) and even though his FIP was lower than his ERA, a 5.85 FIP is still nothing to write home about. Even after signing a minor league contract with the Nationals, last season's tough campaign will make it hard for the right-hander to garner anything more than a middle-relief role in Washington's unsettled bullpen, especially at age 33.
Albers had his contract purchased by the Nationals on Sunday, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports. After Jeremy Guthrie was designated for assignment following his disastrous start Saturday, a spot opened up on the 40-man roster for Albers to occupy. The 34-year-old posted a 6.31 ERA and an uninspiring 4.6 percent K-BB over 51.1 innings with the White Sox in 2016. He'll likely operate as a low-leverage bullpen arm for the Nationals going forward.
Albers re-signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals and will begin the season with Triple-A Syracuse, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reports. He was released toward the end of spring training after failing to win a spot in the Washington bullpen, but after no other team showed interest in giving him a big-league job, Albers elected to return to the Nats. The veteran could surface again in the majors later in the season if he pitches well at Triple-A, but it's hard to see him earning a fantasy-relevant role in a stacked Nats bullpen.
Albers was released by the Nationals on Monday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Albers was forced to settle for a minor-league contract in the offseason after submitting a 6.31 ERA and 1.68 WHIP over 51.1 innings with the White Sox last year, but despite tossing 11.2 scoreless innings in spring training, he was unable to claim a bullpen spot with the Nationals. The 34-year-old's strong track record prior to last season coupled with his excellent spring should be enough to earn him a look from another MLB team, though he'll likely be in store for a low-leverage role no matter where he lands.
Albers agreed to a minor league deal with the Nationals on Tuesday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. The 34-year-old is coming off one of the worst years of his career, and definitely of recent memory, posting an abysmal 6.31 ERA across 51.1 innings with only 30 strikeouts and 19 walks. The Nationals took a flyer on Albers, and he'll need to return to his numbers prior to 2016 if he wants to make an impact in 2017.
The White Sox declined their 2017 option for Albers' contract, making him a free agent. After averaging a 2.28 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over the last three seasons, Albers saw said marks shoot up to 6.31 and 1.68, respectively. As a result, the White Sox have decided to buyout the remainder of his contract and part ways with the righty. Regardless of where he ends up, Albers will almost certainly remain in the bullpen and look to rebound from 2016's dreadful performance.