On Wednesday afternoon Andy Martino had reported that free-agent outfielder Albert Almora is among the center field options that the New York Mets have looked at. This latest of the Mets rumors similarly falls in line with the other Mets rumors surrounding the front office’s interest in free-agent center fielders George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr.
The 26-year old Almora is certainly one of the most fascinating names on the open market, as at one point he was considered a member of the Chicago Cubs group of core players after the Cubs World Series victory in 2016. It’s also worth noting that Almora was a former first-round pick of the Cubs back in 2012 when he was taken sixth overall out of Mater Academy Charter School.
Almora certainly would be a less expensive option for the Mets out of the current center fielders they are interested in. Whether the organization believes Almora is still capable of taking over the everyday center field job or whether he would join the organization as a fourth outfielder remains to be seen.
As a member of the Cubs, Almora provided the organization with Gold Glove-caliber defense and more than held his own at the plate in his first three seasons in the Major Leagues with a .286 batting average over those three campaigns.
Unfortunately, since the 2019 season, Almora has largely struggled offensively as he hit .236 in 2019 despite hitting a career-high 12 home runs. Last season those struggles continued as he hit .167 in 34 plate appearances before being demoted to the Cubs alternate site in September, and then non-tendered this offseason.
Why the Mets rumors about Albert Almora is good news
If the front office were to sign Almora, it would represent a low-risk, high-upside move due to Almora’s previous pedigree. Certainly, a change of scenery in an organization that currently is on the upswing may benefit the former first-round pick in re-establishing himself as the Gold-Glove caliber center fielder many envisioned becoming after his first three seasons in the league.
It’s also very debatable that many of Almora’s recent struggles could be attributed to more mental obstacles than anything as he has not been the same player since striking a two-year-old girl in the stands with a foul ball during the 2019 season in Houston.
As a right-handed hitter, Almora would be a welcome addition to a left-handing leading Mets lineup. Almora also absolutely rakes against southpaws, with a career .280 average, which gives Manager Luis Rojas an upper hand when constructing a lineup against a left-handed starting pitcher, or bringing a hitter off the bench to face a left-handed reliever.
Also, Almora is one of the few players I want to see in an opposing team’s uniform at Citi Field in 2021. Almora has a robust career .356 batting average against the Mets in 63 plate appearances as well as a mind-boggling .438 career batting average at Citi Field in 35 plate appearances. It’s fair to say he has the Mets number.
I believe the latest Mets rumors surrounding Albert Almora as one of the options the Mets are considering in center field, are one of the most thought-provoking rumors of the offseason. I believe Almora would be a perfect fit for the Mets roster in 2021 in some capacity. It’s also important to note that should the Mets sign Almora, they would have two seasons of control, if they so choose, as Almora is not scheduled for free agency until after the 2022 season.
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While there will be certainly more Mets rumors circulating over the coming weeks about the front office’s potential interest in another star player, players such as Almora are just as important as potential depth pieces that separate the good teams from the great teams in the league.