Is Albert Almora Jr.'s Gold Glove-caliber defense enough to keep him on the Reds roster in 2023?

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Albert Almora Jr. (3).
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Albert Almora Jr. (3). / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds will be facing a roster crunch in the next few months. The organization has a lot of young players who'll need to be added to the Reds 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.

Among those who'll need to be added are superstar prospect Elly De La Cruz, newly acquired prospects Spencer Steer and Noelvi Marte, as well as pitching prospects Levi Stoudt and Brandon Williamson.

Albert Almora Jr. is under team control for one more season. The former Chicago Cubs centerfielder has put up very good numbers defensively, but his production at the plate has been below average. Is Almora Jr.'s glove enough to keep him in Cincinnati next season?

Reds OF Albert Almora Jr. plays Gold Glove-caliber defense.

Albert Almora Jr.'s defensive skills were on full display during the Cincinnati Reds game at PNC Park on Friday night. Twice, Almora Jr. robbed what should have a been base hits by two separate Pittsburgh Pirates batters.

Almora Jr. will be one of the more interesting players to keep an eye on as the offseason creeps closer. Will the veteran outfielder continue to get meaningful playing time in the Reds outfield, or will be replaced in the coming weeks by players like Jake Fraley and T.J. Friedl.

If Almora Jr. continues to get three or four starts per week, that might suggest the direction Cincinnati is headed during the offseason. This winter will represent Almora Jr. final year of arbitration eligibility. It's hard to see the outfielder making much more $2-$3M in 2023.

But while Almora Jr.'s defense is not in question, his production at the plate certainly is. The 28-year-old is hitting .226/.283/.354 with five home runs, 29 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 73 according to FanGraphs. These are the best numbers Almora Jr. has put up since 2018 with the Cubs.

It would be a little surprising if the Cincinnati Reds decided to move on from Albert Almora Jr. With so many unknowns heading into next season and Nick Senzel's injury history, Almora Jr. is nice insurance option.

Almora Jr.'s future with the club will ultimately come down to the number of additions Cincinnati makes to the 40-man roster this winter. The former first-round pick will be lumped in with players like Aristides Aquino and Matt Reynolds as the non-tender deadline approaches during the offseason.

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