Baseball

MLB Breaking News: Albert Almora is a New York Met

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It may be Super Bowl Sunday, but the hot stove is still red-hot and we have some MLB breaking news on this Sunday morning.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the New York Mets have reached an agreement on a big-league deal with center fielder Albert Almora Jr, pending a physical.

Almora was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs back in December after his production both at the plate and in the field started to decline. Almora lost most of his playing time in center to Ian Happ, and over thirty at-bats last season, he picked up just five hits and posted a .465 OPS.

However, as noted by Mathew Brownstein of MetsMerized, over his career Almora has been a terrific defensive center fielder, posting +13 Outs Above Average since 2018. He has also been a bit better at the plate against lefties, posting a career .280/.332/.402 slash line against southpaws.

MLB Breaking News: What Almora Brings to New York

Almora is still just 26-years old and a former first-round draft pick, so maybe a change of scenery out of Chicago and some tweaks to his approach at the plate will do him some good.

While Almora isn’t the solution or big splash Mets fans were looking for in center, he is a solid glove-first right-handed-hitting natural center fielder off the bench who can occasionally start against lefties.

As noted by Rosenthal, Brandon Nimmo likely still figures to see the bulk of the playing time, with Almora in more of a Jake Marisnick or Juan Lagares type late-innings defensive replacement role.

IMO, this move likely affects Guillermo Heredia‘s chances of cracking the Opening Day roster more than Nimmo’s playing time.

While Jackie Bradley Jr would’ve been more of an upgrade in center, the Mets probably did not want to wait around any longer due to the uncertainty around the universal designated hitter and JBJ’s reportedly high asking price.

After settling for Almora, it seems as though there may be one more splash coming for the Mets. After seeing the offer they had on the table for Trevor Bauer, there is no denying Sandy Alderson and the company still have money to work with.

It will be interesting to see where they pivot to next in free agency or the trade market, whether it be an upgrade at the hot corner, another bullpen arm, or another middle of the rotation arm.

Keep it peeled to OTH for the latest New York Mets and MLB Breaking News as we draw closer and closer to Spring Training.

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