UPDATE: OK, so apparently Matt Albers isn’t going to Japan

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UPDATE: So much for all that. I’m now told by a reliable source that it’s not true. Kind of a weirdly random thing for Mullen to report inaccurately, but oh well. Sorry to get everyone so excited by the huge non-news!

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Maureen Mullen reports that the Red Sox have released Matt Albers “to allow him to play in Japan.”

She adds that Boston “will receive an undisclosed sum of money” for cutting Albers loose, which is relatively standard for MLB-to-Japan moves and in this case presumably takes the Red Sox off the hook for the one-year, $875,000 deal he signed with them after being non-tendered by the Orioles in December.

Albers had a 4.62 ERA and poor 124/92 K/BB ratio in 193 innings spread over three years in Baltimore.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.