Albert Almora and the Rush to Replace Him
When I checked the standings this morning the Cubs were still in first place in the central division, even with the two losses to the Giants, and they still have the third best record in the national league. A bit of a speed bump this week, but nothing catastrophic, and yet many fans, media, and others in the game want the Cubs to go out and get themselves a "real" centerfielder.
Albert Almora is killing them say many. The lack of production from centerfield is the biggest issue the Cubs have say others. The Cubs need to improve all numbers out of the centerfield position write those that claim to know.
I remember fifty-five years ago the Cubs gave up on a talented, but still raw, outfielder, after the fans and press had given up on him too, and were thrilled to move him in a trade for a quality pitcher. The pitcher went on to have a defective arm and the outfielder went to the Hall of Fame.
In some key stats, Almora is not exactly tearing it up this year. He's 12th in batting average for national league center fielders with a .239 average, and he is 13th in the NL in OPS, OPS+, and WAR at .657, 68, and 0.2 respectively. Awful numbers to be sure but he isn't alone.
The guy everyone is projecting the Cubs to go get, Jarrod Dyson of Arizona, has a line of .249/.691/79/1.2, not exactly Willie Mays-ish and he is ten years older than Almora. I'm not sure why people want to dump Almora. (And I'm not comparing him to Brock either.)
There are at least 25 other teams in baseball right now that would love to have Albert Almora playing centerfield for them. I have said for three years now that when his career is over, Almora will be considered one of the best center fielders ever for the Cubs. He is one of the four best athletes on this team who all happen to be up the middle, a key location if you want to win titles. (The other three are Contreras, Baez, and Russell)
I would love to see him hit better, hell, he would love to see himself hit better too. His defense is plus, plus and those guys don't grow on trees. As great as Jason Heyward is in right field defensively, when Joe Maddon puts him in center, he is absolutely awful. Unless the Cubs can pry Ronald Acuna from Atlanta, there is nobody better to go get to replace him.
I would love to see the Cubs just let him play and leave him alone. I am confident he will get back to his career numbers by season's end and there is no doubt he is going to be needed defensively in the playoffs. Team Theo needs to go find a reliever or two and somebody to come off the bench and deliver a key hit with RISP late in games.