Lost in the weekend excitement of taking two out of three from the New York Yankees in the Bronx was a roster move made by the New York Mets. Jonathan Villar was activated from the 10-day IL. The roster spot he took: outfielder Albert Almora.
Almora was signed this offseason to provide the Mets with some outfield help from the bench. Specifically, he was thought to give them a boost late in games with his defense.
He lived up to that end of the bargain. Unfortunately, after 41 plate appearances spread out with an IL stint in between, Almora has not done much else. The Mets took advantage of his minor league option and Almora is now down in Triple-A awaiting the call to get back to the big leagues.
Can Albert Almora regain some value for the Mets?
Almora heads to the farm with a season slash line of .075/.098/.125 and 15 strikeouts. An OPS of .223 is a bad batting average yet it’s what he has combined with his on-base and slugging.
There is no shortage of bad offensive numbers from Almora this year. Surprisingly, he hasn’t even been so terrific defensively when we look at the metrics.
Almora has played center field exclusively for the Mets—aside from his pitching appearances. He has a -0.1 WAR with the glove and a few other numbers of his on defense are also below freezing. This was also the case in 2019 when he last played a full season back when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs.
The days of a roster employing a defensive substitute with zero offensive abilities may be coming to a close. MLB rosters prefer to carry an extra reliever, sometimes even marching on with a short bench. Almora, whose greatest gift in his career has been his glove, doesn’t appear to have much room on the Mets moving forward. This is especially true if Billy McKinney proves to be valuable to them.
Both Almora and McKinney are arbitration-eligible next year which could mean the two battle it out for the fifth outfielder spot. With Kevin Pillar also under contract, the Mets may have a decision to make between whether they want the better-rounded McKinney or the potential they believed Almora could have brought to the club.
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This is surely not the end of Almora’s days in Flushing. Outfield depth was lacking within this organization. At the very least, they have somewhere they can turn even if his bat has turned into a lemon.