• Next Stop For Albers: Korea?

    Andrew Albers' baseball journey has taken him to some interesting places.

    Before joining the Minnesota Twins as a minor-league free agent in 2011 after driving clear across the country for a tryout, the left-hander had played ball all around the continent; from prep ball in his native Canada, to the University of Kentucky, to the San Diego Padres organization as a 10th-round draft pick and then back to Canada for a year of independent ball.

    During his two years in the Twins' organization, he has played at five different levels, including the majors in late 2013. Now, it appears that he is poised to continue chasing his dream on the other side of the globe, in South Korea.

    Reports arose on Tuesday that Albers has reached a tentative agreement with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. It sounds like the only remaining hurdle for completion of the deal is a buyout between the Eagles and Twins.

    Albers is no doubt interested in continuing to pursue an MLB career, but likely saw the writing on the wall here in Minnesota. With four spots in the big-league rotation already committed to veterans, and a logjam of starters competing for that fifth spot (several of whom are out of options), the 28-year-old stood little chance of claiming a roster spot on the Twins this spring.

    In fact, he may have had a tough time cracking the rotation in Rochester. Consider this: new arrivals Kris Johnson (the minor-leaguer ultimately received in the Justin Morneau trade) and Sean Gilmartin (acquired from Atlanta in exchange for Ryan Doumit) both pitched in Triple-A last year, and the Twins are surely eager to see what they have in the two. Kyle Gibson is probably pegged for assignment with the Red Wings; same goes for Trevor May after two full seasons in Double-A. Alex Meyer, who was dominant when healthy at New Britain last year and looked good in the Arizona Fall League, is also a candidate.

    That's five already. Then you've got the losers of the three-way battle between Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley for Minnesota's fifth rotation spot. Given the situation with options, the losers of that competition may end up in the bullpen or claimed by another team, but if not they would be destined for Rochester.

    So it's not hard to see how Albers could have been squeezed by the suddenly deep group of arms gunning for jobs in Triple-A and the majors this year. Although he performed very well in Rochester last year and his brilliant first two big-league starts made for an awesome story, the soft-tossing southpaw ranks behind most of the aforementioned names in terms of true prospect luster.

    In Korea, he'll earn more money, and he'll have a chance to perhaps catch the attention of another MLB organization if he excels. It's a smart move for him and a convenient enough one for the Twins, who can clear up a space on the 40-man roster and turn their attention toward younger pitchers with more upside.

    Nevertheless, Albers' debut and follow-up were easily among the most fun moments of the 2013 season, and I will miss watching his memorable story unfold from up close. I wish him the best as he continues his unique baseball journey, assuming the deal goes through.
    This article was originally published in blog: Next Stop For Albers: Korea? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.ph...r-Albers-Korea
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Good for him. Now, whom to sign with the open spot? Garza?
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Do they just go ahead and add Kubel now? Or later?
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      No reason to add Kubel until the end of spring training.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      There is no way that Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley will not get claimed if passed through waivers, so they are not really part of the Rochester rotation competition. LHPs Pat Dean and Logan Darnell (who were at Rochester at the end of 2013) and RHP Virgil Vasquez who pitched for Rochester in 2013.

      Add Gilmartin & Johnson to Dean & Darnell and the Twins all of the sudden have 4 lefties (even if you exclude Diamond) ahead of Albers.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Is it just me, or does Albers look like he could be Justin Morneau's little brother?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      Is it just me, or does Albers look like he could be Justin Morneau's little brother?
      All Canadians look the same to me.
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      All Canadians look the same to me.
      I doubt anyone, even you, would confuse Riza Santos with Bill Shatner.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by crarko View Post
      I doubt anyone, even you, would confuse Riza Santos with Bill Shatner.
      I have a rare case of Canadian Blindness. Don't mock.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Great points in Phil Miller's Strib blog: http://www.startribune.com/sports/tw...241358231.html

      Albers is 27, and won't be eligible for free agency until he's 34. According to his agent, Blake Corosky, Albers had never made over $25k a year in pro ball, with the exception of last season. A year in Korea guarantees financial stability for him, and his family.

      The kid can come back in 2015, when the Twin's log jam of starting pitchers might be broken up. It's hard to see the downside on this deal, except if you were looking forward to seeing Albers pitch for Rochester in 2014.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      All Canadians look the same to me.


      You're telling me you can't tell which one is Larry Walker?.......Wow!
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Sounds like the deal is final now.

      High six-figures will buy a lot of bulgogi.
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