Andrew Albers is headed back to MLB after a rough 2014 season in Korea, signing a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays that includes an invitation to spring training.
Albers debuted for the Twins in 2013 and held his own in 10 starts as a 27-year-old rookie, but with an Opening Day roster spot looking like a long shot for 2014 he agreed to be sold to the Hanwha Eagles in Korea.
He struggled there, going 6-13 with a 5.89 ERA in a very hitter-friendly environment. Albers throws strikes and had lots of success in the minors, but the left-hander’s low-velocity approach means he’ll have to really impress to get back to the big leagues.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.