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Red Sox sign Albers; Hill only player non-tendered

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 12, 2011 10:26 PM

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The Red Sox signed right-handed reliever Matt Albers to a one-year contract tonight, but did not offer a deal to lefthanded reliever Rich Hill, making him a free agent.

The Sox also tendered contract offers to their other arbitration-eligible unsigned players including pitchers Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Franklin Morales along with position players Mike Aviles, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

A tendered player would be considered signed for 2012 for at least a one-year contract at a salary determined through negotiation or by an arbitration panel.

Albers, who turns 29 next month, appeared in 56 games last season. He had a 2.15 ERA in his first 37 games and held opponents to a .207 batting average.

But an apparently worn-down Albers was hit hard over the final two months of the season. He had an 11.09 ERA in his final 19 appearances, giving up 28 hits and 12 walks over 18.2 innings. He regained his form in the final 10 days of the season, allowing one run over 4.2 innings and striking out seven.

His deal is worth $1.07 million with no incentives.

As expected, the Sox also tendered contracts to their 40-man roster players not eligible for arbitration. That is the group with 0-3 years of service time. They are:

1B Lars Anderson, RHP Michael Bowden, LHP Drake Britton, LHP Felix Doubront, C Luis Exposito,OF Ryan Kalish, C Ryan Lavarnway, OF Che-Hsuan Lin, OF Darnell McDonald, 3B Will Middlebrooks, RHP Stolmy Pimentel, OF Josh Reddick, RHP Junichi Tazawa, 2B Oscar Tejeda and RHP Kyle Weiland.

Those players have their salaries determined by the team.

Hill, a Milton native, could be retained on a minor-league contract. The 31-year-old appeared in nine games last season before tearing an elbow ligament in June and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Hill is not expected to be ready to appear in a game until June.

Hill has not allowed a run in 15 career games for the Red Sox. Given that he is recovering from surgery, it is unlikely a team would tie up a roster spot on him this winter.

In terms of other teams, the interesting non-tenders include:

OF Ryan Spilborghs (Rockies): He's a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who had a horrendous 2011 (.210/.283/.305) but showed promise in 2010 (.279/.360/.437).

Colorado would like to retain Spilborghs, who is hitting .298 in the Mexican League this winter with a .844 OPS in 16 games.

LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (Dodgers): An All-Star in 2010, Kuo has a history of medical problems and last year an anxiety disorder. There is a chance he retires.

LHP Joe Saunders (Diamondbacks): Saunders is lefthanded, has a pulse and started 33 games in the major leagues last season. Right now, that would make him the No. 4 starter for the Red Sox, his poor peripheral numbers aside.

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