Broxton, Albers ink Minors deals with Twins

Duo invited to Spring Training; Leyer, Shepherd agree to Minor League deals

February 8th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins continued to build out their organizational depth ahead of Spring Training by signing veterans and to Minor League deals with invitations to Major League Spring Training on Monday.

Minnesota also agreed to Minor League deals with pitchers Robinson Leyer and Chandler Shepherd.

Albers, 35, owns a 4.10 ERA in 26 MLB appearances from 2013-17 and spent the last three seasons pitching for the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. He will join the Twins' organization for the third time after having previously signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2011 and '16.

In fact, most of Albers' big league experience has come with the Twins, as he made 10 starts for Minnesota in 2013 -- posting a 4.05 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 60 innings -- before returning for six appearances in '16. He had a 4.02 ERA in his three seasons with Orix and also spent a season in Korea in '14.

Broxton is the first primary outfielder the Twins have signed as a non-roster invitee this offseason, which shouldn't come as a surprise considering the organization's considerable depth in the outfield for camp, including top prospects Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker and Gilberto Celestino.

The 30-year-old Broxton comes with plenty of Major League experience and owns a career .209/.297/.388 line in 376 appearances over five seasons with the Brewers, Mets, Pirates, Mariners and Orioles. He spent the 2020 season at the Brewers' alternate training site and didn't make an MLB appearance.

Broxton's best season came in 2017, when he hit 20 homers and stole 21 bases in 143 games for Milwaukee, but he also struggled with strikeouts and was held to a .719 OPS. Significantly, he's been a center fielder for most of his career, which should bolster the Twins' organizational depth at the position. With LaMonte Wade Jr. having recently been traded to the Giants for Shaun Anderson, Broxton should line up alongside Byron Buxton, Celestino and perhaps Max Kepler as center-field options in camp.

Albers and Broxton join a list of non-roster invitees that also includes plenty of MLB experience in pitchers Danny Coulombe, Luke Farrell, Derek Law, Juan Minaya and Glenn Sparkman; catcher Tomás Telis; and infielders Tzu-Wei Lin, Rob Refsnyder and JT Riddle. Depth should be more important this season -- especially on the pitching staff -- as clubs expand from a 60-game season to a full 162-game campaign.