The White Sox are bringing back one of their most effective relief pitchers from 2015 in right-hander Matt Albers, who agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.25-million contract with a club option for 2017. Albers will receive $2 million in 2016, while the Sox hold a $3-million option for 2017 with a $250,000 buyout.
Albers, 33, went 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 37 1/3 innings during his first season with the Sox after making the Opening Day roster as a non-roster invitee to spring training. He was on the disabled list from April 20-July 15 with a broken right pinky finger, a freak accident suffered during the Sox’ bench-clearing brawl with the Kansas City Royals.
Albers posted a 1.14 ERA in the second half, the lowest mark in the American League among relief pitchers, and became a late-inning option for manager Robin Ventura. He pitched 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings over his final 20 appearances, the fourth-longest streak in the AL during the 2015 season.
The Sox bullpen appears to shape up well as currently comprised with right-handed closer David Robertson, right-handers Nate Jones, Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam and Albers and left-handers Zach Duke and Dan Jennings. Daniel Webb will also compete for a job during spring training, and the Sox traded for 26-year-old right-hander Tommy Kahnle in November. Kahnle (4.86 ERA) averaged 10.5 strikeouts over nine innings last season.
Kahnle, 26, went 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA (18 ER/33.1 IP), two saves, three holds and 39 strikeouts with Colorado in 2015, averaging 10.5 strikeouts per 9.0 innings while recording two saves in 2015.
Albers owns a 4.20 ERA with 389 strikeouts in 394 career games over 10 seasons with Houston (2006-07, ‘14), Baltimore (2008-10), Boston (2011-12), Arizona (2012), Cleveland (2013) and the Sox (2015). His ERA is 2.32 over the last four seasons.