The Mets Turn To Junior (No, The Other Junior)

The Mets Turn To Junior (No, The Other Junior)


The Mets Turn To Junior (No, The Other Junior)


Everyone expected the Mets to pivot to Jackie Bradley Jr. after not signing George Springer. Well, they got a Junior. But not the one mentioned above.

Once Springer signed, JBJ was the top option in the free agent market at center field. Some reports said that JBJ was looking for a long term (say, 3-4 years) deal at significant money. Most agents representing that player would do the same thing. For the Mets, JBJ probably exceeded their price range for the return they would get. I for one was worried that JBJ would get one of those reactionary contracts that wouldn’t age well. So, on to Albert Almora Jr.

The Mets signed Almora to a deal which keeps him at team control through the next two seasons with a minor league option left. In terms of a defensive center fielder, he’s as good as anybody. At this point, he probably plays against lefties (OPS is about 50 points higher vs. LHP in his career), and is a late inning defensive replacement the rest of the way. Offensively, Almora has been a mixed bag, with one defining point of demarkation.

Aug 4, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. (5) smiles while in the dugout before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

From 2016-18, Almora produced splits of .289/.326/.412. In 2019, he started the season at .259/.302/.438 through May 29th. That was the night where Almora was involved in a terrible accident where a foul ball hit a little girl in the stands in Houston. Since then, Almora took a sharp downturn, hitting .215/.242/.328 the rest of the season. And 2020 was similarly horrible, hitting .167/.265/.200. While the rest of ’19 was definitely affected by the accident, 2020 could have been a combination of that and a whole host of other factors that only 2020 could provide. It’s all totally understandable.

As a Cubs fan friend of mine expressed to me, perhaps (he hopes, and we hope) a change of scenery will help in this regard and he could get his career back on track. With the talent that Almora has, it’s a good chance to take.

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