Minutes after shooting back an ounce of prescription-grade cold medication (this one gives me vivid dreams!) I saw reactions to a report that the Blue Jays are set to sign North Battleford, Saskatchewan native Andrew Albers. The source is not exactly rock sold (Robert Murray is one of those "teenage Twitter reporters"), but I don't think this is one of those moves anyone makes up. "Only baseball team in Canada signs a Canadian pitcher who was pretty bad in Korean ball" is not exactly a tweet that gets you enough sweet hits of RTs to justify typing out all those characters.
Source: #BlueJays to sign LHP Andrew Albers.— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayMLB) December 17, 2014
I mean, I guess Murray's "source" could be absolutely wrong but, hell I am going to pass out in about 10 minutes so why not get this post up anyway.
Albers, a 29-year-old southpaw, was drafted by he Padres in 2008 and appeared in five games for them in Rookie ball. Next spring training he tore his UCL and was subsequently released after getting Tommy John. The next season he was in independent ball before returning to affiliated baseball with the Twins organization. In 2013 he posted a 4.05 ERA as a starter for Minnesota. If you recall, he started his major league career in fine fashion: he took a four-hit shutout into the ninth against the Royals in his debut, and then tossed a complete game shutout against the Indians in his next start. He was, uh, not nearly as good in his subsequent starts, save the one against the Blue Jays, when he limited Toronto hitters to five hits over seven shutout innings, striking out a career-high five.
Then, a few weeks before spring training this year, Albers asked the Twins to release him so he could sign as a free agent with the Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon, South Korea. It was probably a financial decision for him, as he was given a contract that guaranteed $700,000 plus a club option for 2015. However, after a disastrous season, the Eagles decided against picking up the option. His 5.89 ERA was well above league average (5.21, according to Mike Bernardino).
But hey, the Blue Jays have a lot of minor league affiliates and they all need arms to fill in their rotations. With the possible addition of a prairie guy to their organization, the Blue Jays just need someone from out east to form a cabinet.
We'll probably get something more concrete by Wednesday morning, as I'm sure Bob Elliott is already calling up is Baseball Canada connections. Meanwhile I am looking forward to some vivid dreams.