The Mets added another veteran outfielder on Monday.
The New York Mets brought in veteran outfielder Albert Almora earlier this winter to provide a defensive replacement off the bench. The former Chicago Cubs centerfielder hasn’t hit much, so he was viewed largely as a defensive option.
Now the Mets have added another veteran outfielder to the mix who can be an option in the lineup as well.
The Mets reportedly agreed to terms with Kevin Pillar on Monday.
Pillar has been a solid defensive outfielder during his career. He frequently found himself in highlight packages for his flying catches while in Toronto.
To say he’s a defensive upgrade from the three projected starters for the Mets isn’t an understatement, but it’s also not saying much. The Mets’ starters are going to be mediocre defensively; they’re willingly trading offense for defense.
But Pillar has historically been good against left-handed pitching. his career slash line against lefties is .286/.320/.464 which, while not exceptional, is good enough to make him a legit starting option.
What to do with Almora?
Many Mets fans openly advocated for Jackie Bradley Jr. to be brought in to serve as a defensive upgrade and a bat that could stick in the lineup every day. That obviously didn’t happen, likely because the lack of a DH in the National League this year complicates Dom Smith’s role.
When Almora was brought in it made sense. The Mets bought low on a relatively young centerfielder who can go get it. He’s the prototypical fourth outfielder and would be a significant defensive upgrade in center.
But the addition of Pillar makes Almora a fifth outfielder who brings little to the table offensively. Even with an extra body on the bench this season it’s hard to see Almora getting many plate appearances now that Pillar has signed.