Cubs News: Albert Almora is a prime non-tender candidate

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

There’s a strong chance we’ve seen the last of Albert Almora with the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs will have a lot of difficult roster decisions as we head into this offseason. Whether it’s Theo Epstein or somebody else at the helm, the front office will have to decide whether several key players have a future on the north side of Chicago.

One such player is outfielder Albert Almora, who is arbitration-eligible this offseason. According to figures released by MLB Trade Rumors, Almora is in line to make about $1.575 million through the arbitration process. However, Almora seems to be a prime candidate to not be offered a contract for the 2021 season.

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It’s no secret that Almora, who will be 27 in April, has taken a couple of significant steps backward over the past couple of seasons. Though there were high hopes for Almora to bounce back this season, he struggled mightily, posting a -0.1 WAR while going 5-for-30 at the plate with only one extra-base hit and one RBI. He was eventually optioned to South Bend.

It was again a big disappointment after Almora had shown so much promise in 2017 and 2018. His OPS peaked at .782 in 2017 while he batted .298 with 46 RBIs. Though he never figured to hit for much power, there was hope that he could be a high-average hitter and a strong defender, perhaps a borderline starter at the major league level. Even his defense took a big step backward in 2019, though he didn’t have much of an opportunity to show what he could do in this past shortened season.

The Cubs will need a backup outfielder for the 2021 season, as Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, and Jason Heyward, for now, are the starters. However, it might be time to go in another direction and cut ties with Almora after he has continued to regress.

Parting with him would be difficult, as he was Epstein’s first draft pick with the Cubs when the team selected him sixth overall in 2012. However, it could be time to give Almora a fresh start. It seems that he’s never been the same since his foul ball injured a young fan in Houston back in 2019, though we don’t know how much that directly has impacted him.

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If indeed Almora has played his final game with the Cubs, it was quite a ride that included scoring a key run in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. If he does leave, hopefully he’ll be able to bounce back with another team.