3) Center Fielder Albert Almora Jr.
With rumors circulating on how the Chicago Cubs plan to handle their four core players in Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, and Kyle Schwarber this upcoming offseason there may be also questions surrounding former first-round pick Albert Almora. The 26-year old center fielder was essentially replaced by Cameron Maybin at the Trade Deadline and was sent down to the Cubs alternate site following Maybin’s acquisition.
Almora who has a strong baseball bloodline as his father Albert Almora Sr. played baseball in Cuba, was originally the Cubs sixth overall selection in the 2012 MLB Draft and played a large role on their World Series Championship team back in 2016. Almora provided the Cubs with Gold Glove-caliber defense and raked at the plate in his first three seasons in the Major Leagues with a .286 batting average over those three campaigns.
Since 2019 however Almora has largely struggled offensively as most of the Cubs core players have. Almora hit .236 in 2019 despite hitting a career-high 12 home runs, and he never regained his footing in 2020 as he hit .167 in 34 plate appearances before being demoted to the Cubs alternate site.
Almora is still young enough to bounce back and become the Gold Glove-caliber center fielder that many around the league envisioned him becoming over his first three seasons in the majors. It could be argued Almora’s shortcomings could be mental as he has not been the same hitter since striking a two-year-old girl in the stands last season in Houston. A change of scenery in a new environment could provide a boost for the former first-round pick to fulfill his potential.
Let’s not also forget Almora’s well-known success against the Mets. Almora has a career .356 batting average against the Mets in 63 plate appearances and also has a .438 career batting average at Citi Field in 35 plate appearances. Ouch.
As a right-handed hitter, he would be a welcome addition similar to Ramon Laureano, as the Mets are a very left-handed dominant lineup. Almora also is successful against left-handed pitching with a career .280 average, and while his primary defensive home is center field, his defense profiles across all three outfield positions.
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Almora is not eligible for free agency until 2023 which gives the Mets a young controllable player who they can take a flyer on as a prime bounce-back candidate in 2021 and beyond. Could a swap of another change of scenery candidate in Steven Matz and a lower level minor leaguer get a deal accomplished for the Mets this offseason?