Andrew Albers worked his way into the Minnesota Twins starting rotation this past season, but rather than join the team at Spring Training in a few weeks the right-hander will instead report to the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. The two sides completed an agreement to transfer Albers’ rights to Hanwha, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Albers has reportedly agreed to a deal that will pay him in the “high six figures”, which is more than he’d of earned pitching in the Twins’ minor league system another season.
It’s unclear if the Twins are receiving anything in the deal or if the team is simply allowing Albers to pursue the opportunity.
A former 10th Round pick in the 2008 Draft by the San Diego Padres, Albers found himself pitching in the independent Can-Am League by the 2010 season. He’d sign a deal with the Twins the following spring and has worked his way through their minor league system since. Most of his 2013 season was spent in Triple-A, where he’d go 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.179 WHIP over 22 starts (132.1 IP). He’d make ten starts for Minnesota as well, posting a 4.05 ERA and 1.183 WHIP across 60.0 IP. Not an overpowering pitcher (just 3.8 K/9), he benefits from a very low walk rate (1.1 BB/9).
Originally Albers had been expected to come to Twins camp looking to earn a spot in the starting rotation, but once the team signed a trio of free agents earlier this offseason (Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey) the chances that he’d come out on top from a large group of alternatives became fairly slim. This opportunity will allow Albers to spend the year in Korea, after which he’ll become a free agent once again.