The Cincinnati Reds signed longtime Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. The defensive-minded Almora Jr. brings a Gold Glove-caliber mitt to the Reds outfield.
While the Reds have lost their two biggest power bats in Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos, they've certainly upgraded the outfield defense. In addition to Almora Jr., Cincinnati has TJ Friedl and Jake Fraley in the outfield, both of whom can flat-out fly.
The Reds signed Albert Almora to a minor-league deal.
Albert Almora Jr. is an elite defensive centerfielder who's lack of patience at the plate has caused the 27-year-old to fall out of favor with major league ball clubs. The Reds signed Almora Jr. to a minor league deal, and he'll join the competition to be among the fourth and fifth outfielders on the club.
Nick Senzel, if he remains healthy, is a good bet to be Cincinnati's Opening Day starter in center field. Adding Almora Jr. to the mix, however, could give David Bell another right-handed bat and enable the Reds skipper to utilize Senzel as the team's designated hitter on occasion.
Almora Jr. can play all three outfield spots, but while he has an extremely accurate arm, it's not necessarily strong enough for the former first-round pick to play in right field. Instead of pure speed, Almora Jr. uses great reads off the bat and an exceedingly quick first step to track balls down in the outfield.
As mentioned, the Cincinnati Reds already have Nick Senzel as part of the team's starting group of outfielders. You can add Tyler Naquin to that list as well. After trading Jesse Winker, it's anyone's guess who'll be lining up in left field on Opening Day, but Jake Fraley might be the team's best option right now.
Aristides Aquino, TJ Friedl, Shogo Akiyama, and MiLB Rule 5 Draftee Ronnie Dawson are all in the mix as well. There are few players on the Cincinnati roster who'll play better defense than Albert Almora Jr., but .216/.256/.342 slash line will have to improve greatly if the former New York Met hopes to make the Opening Day roster.