The Astros signed reliever Matt Albers to a one-year guaranteed deal with an option for 2015 today.
Albers, a Sugar Land native and San Jac alum, was originally drafted by the Astros in the 23rd Round of the 2001 draft and came up through the Astros system. The worst years of his career were 2006-07, his first two years and both were with Houston (though, to be fair, he only threw in 15IP in 2006). In 110.2IP for the 2007 Astros (31 appearances, 18 starts), Albers allowed a 5.86 ERA/1.60 WHIP and was traded in the big ol' Miguel Tejada trade in December 2007.
And then things got better. In the six seasons since leaving Houston, Albers has posted a 4.03 ERA/1.41 WHIP - though in 2012/13 (Boston, Arizona, Cleveland), he has thrown 123.1IP, 103H/38ER, 79K:45BB for a 2.77 ERA/1.20 WHIP. His 2013 season saw a 63.8% groundball rate, a 5.9% Home Run/Flyball rate, a 3.49 FIP and a 3.82 xFIP.
So the Astros are going after cheaper, short-term relievers who get ground balls. I like.