A little New York Mets news dropped Sunday morning as an appetizer for the Super Bowl. While you were preparing the “guac” for your socially-distant party with your pets, the Mets made a deal.
The Mets have a new center fielder. It’s Albert Almora. A young lifetime .271 hitter known more for his glove than his bat originally drafted sixth overall back in 2012.
On the surface, it’s not such a bad signing. He won’t turn 27 until April and did put together some decent overall offensive numbers in his five seasons with the Chicago Cubs. However, it’s far from the ideal candidate to start 162 games for the club.
Where does Albert Almora fit in with the Mets?
The Mets’ search for a center fielder appears to be over with this addition. Previously rumored, he was the much lighter target behind George Springer and even Jackie Bradley Jr.—a guy many had their doubts about because of his sometimes missing bat.
Almora does hit right-handed, which I like, and has hit for a good average in the past. It’s his last two seasons that have me a little weary.
Even discounting the .167/.265/.200 he slashed in 2020 in 34 plate appearances, we can go back to 2019 when he had another rough year. In 363 trips to the plate, Almora hit .236/.271/.381 but with an unexpected power surge of 12 home runs.
Then again, who didn’t hit at least a dozen dingers in 2019?
Try as I might, the Almora signing does not get me excited. He’s a nice fit on the bench. He hardly solves the questionable defense we should see out of Brandon Nimmo for the majority of games this coming season.
Likely, Almora is the guy starting in center field whenever the Mets face a tough lefty. He has performed well against southpaws, slashing .280/.332/.402 in 403 opportunities. This could help make up for Nimmo’s inefficiencies versus them.
Outfield depth was a notable problem for the club. Outside of Nimmo and Michael Conforto, they had no real major leaguers to man those three positions. Now they have at least one more, pending a physical of course.
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Almora didn’t break the bank nor did he make the Mets top contenders in the NL East. At his absolute best, he might be a delicious condiment on the side for the dry outfield situation.