After being outbid for cheater George Springer by the Toronto Blue Jays, news broke on Sunday that the New York Mets reportedly reached terms to fill their roster spot in center field with Albert Almora Jr. After playing a critical role in the Chicago Cubs’ Game 7 victory in the 2016 World Series, Almora was non-tendered in December following three below-average seasons for the Northsiders.
The Mets have found their center fielder. They are in agreement with free agent Albert Almora Jr. , pending a physical, sources tell me and @ByMcCullough
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 7, 2021
Many Cubs fans believe Almora’s performance dropped off after a May 2019 accident at Minute Maid Park in Houston when a foul ball off Almora’s bat injured a young girl in the stands. However, Almora had been underperforming since the second half of 2018, when he slashed .232/.267/.280 over 66 games after hitting .319/.357/.438 in 86 first half games. Almora hit.227/.247/.350 between the date of the incident, May 29, 2019, through the date he was sent down to AAA Iowa, August 16, 2019, which is consistent with his line from the second half of 2018.
While Ken Rosenthal states the Mets have acquired Almora as an everyday player in center, fans familiar with Almora know he is in no way comparable to George Springer, the Mets’ first choice in center field. Almora has been a late-inning replacement at best for quite some time. Joel Sherman of the New York Post in fact believes the Mets signed Almora as a role player and that they could still have interest in Jackie Bradley Jr. if MLB reverses its decision on continuing the universal DH rule in 2021.
https://t.co/nfOxs9VCiB With Almora, the #Mets have settled CF — for now. If there is an 11th-hour settlement and the DH comes to the NL, they can always pivot back to Bradley Jr, who their officials spoke to extensively about a week ago.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 7, 2021
Depth is very important to completing a full MLB season and making a championship run. Having a surfeit of talent is a much better position than having too few quality players, and the Mets may decide to load up by signing Bradley and see how things shake out ahead of the trade deadline. However, they were active on the trade market over the winter, acquiring Francisco Lindor to bolster their infield. They could choose to deal Nimmo or Smith for additional pitching, as they were unable to complete a deal with Trevor Bauer. Keep an eye on this situation as Spring Training approaches.
Featured Image: Classic New York Mets logo, carried over to Citi Field from old Shea Stadium, on top of the Shake Shack on April 5, 2009 in New York by Frank Romeo / Shutterstock.com.