Wilmer Flores and the Mets’ inconsistent positional philosophy

David Wright, really the only hitter in the Mets lineup worth watching these days, was officially put on the disabled list yesterday with what was described as a Grade 2 hamstring strain. According to Mets manager Terry Collins, Wright is expected to miss three to five weeks. This is an unfortunate situation and one that is devastating for a Mets team that, as unlikely as it sounds, had a lot of fans believing they might make it interesting in September. Whether or not you were in that camp, Wright’s injury essentially quashes any hope of that happening.

As unfortunate as the injury is, and whether or not you believe it was avoidable, it does lead to some potentially interesting scenarios moving forward. Most notably, Mets fans may get to see young second baseman Wilmer Flores make his debut about a month earlier than…oh, the Mets decided to call up Mike Baxter instead? There certainly have to be some valid reasons for that decision, right?

Collins, as reported by Adam Rubin at ESPN, has suggested that he may move Daniel Murphy to third base in Wright’s absence. This makes sense since third base is Murphy’s most natural position and it would save all of us from having to watch Justin Turner start there every day. However, he also suggested moving Eric Young to second base. Young has played the position before, though not particularly well, so that in and of itself isn’t head-scratching. What’s curious is the subsequent shuffling these moves seemingly portend when considering whether or not they promote Flores.

Specifically, moving Young to second leaves the door open for Lucas Duda to resume his plodding in left field when he returns from the disabled list. The Mets could absolutely use the offense that Duda has the potential to provide upon his return, but all of this shuffling brings to light the inconsistency in the Mets positional philosophy.

Why are the Mets so reluctant to bring up Flores, who is seemingly well beyond ready on the offensive side of the ball? According to Rubin, Collins and the Mets are concerned with his “non-existent range and foot speed.” All of a sudden the Mets are cautious about putting a player in a position where they may be average or below-average defensively?

How soon we forget that the Mets have been starting players in unnatural positions for quite awhile. Duda clearly has absolutely no business in left field, yet they keep marching him out there. Coincidentally, Murphy at second base was another example of the team shoving a square peg into a round hole. These defensive sacrifices were made for the sake of getting as much offense into the lineup as possible. Now the team is worried about Flores playing a position at a below-average level?

Of course each of these situations are not apples to apples comparisons. You can hide a defensive black hole in left field more effectively than at second base, for example. It’s an inconsistent stance at best and hypocrisy at worst, though, and it’s maddening to Mets fans attempting to understand just what this club is trying to achieve.

The Mets claimed that inaction at the trade deadline was a result of lowball offers and the team’s desire to be “competitive” through the end of the season. One can surmise that this translates to the team’s goal of keeping fans interested and going to the ballpark. For what it’s worth, this blogger would rather pay to watch young Flores kick baseballs around second base for the rest of the season than Young (.190/.299/.293 since the All Star break). How about you?

14 comments for “Wilmer Flores and the Mets’ inconsistent positional philosophy

  1. August 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    1B – Lucas Duda
    2B – Daniel Murphy
    3B – Wilmer Flores
    SS – Quintanilla/Tejada platoon

    Use Satin as a backup at 1B, 2B and 3B — looking to get him in there 3 times a week.

    Send Davis, Turner and Baxter to the minors.

    • August 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      I like it and a real possibility. In fact, today is the second game in a row that Flores has started at 3B. Could be we see him there when September rolls around.

    • steevy
      August 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      Makes too much sense,never happen under TC.Fire Terry Collins!

    • TexasGusCC
      August 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Brian, I will disagree with an explanation. 1B: Satin. seen enough of Davis. Duda is hitting .250 I’m his rehab, send Davis or Duda to AAA. 2B Flores, let’s see what the kid’s got. He came up as a SS, and next year he will be at 2B. Murphy is at 3B. Platoon the SS. Keep Davis or Duda for bats off the bench. Play the hot player. Send Turner down.

      • TexasGusCC
        August 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm

        Oh yea, and fire Collins.

    • Metsense
      August 5, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Satin in a platoon with Duda. Correct about Tejada. Omar’s shelf life is expiring and Tejada is showing positive signs at AAA. Davis should have been traded before deadline (Josh Reddick?) and Turner for any prospect (Kansas City?).
      The square pegs in round holes philosophy of this organization impedes the progress of the team. Flores, a natural third baseman should now play there and maybe this winter the Dodgers will trade us Pederson for him or Murphy for him. Murphy and Flores don’t fit on the same team, just like Duda and Davis, Satin and Turner, Young and Valdespin, and Pete and Repeat. Sandy needs to remove the clutter at these positions and fill in the positions of need with depth.

  2. August 4, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Agree with Brian here. Daniel Murphy’s natural position is DH. Moving him to play third base at this time of the season doesn’t make sense. He would need to be taking ground balls during batting practice to re-acclimate himself with the position and the game is so much faster at third base. We don’t need to see him struggle with the added pressure of his fielding. Leave him at second base where he at least is competent and can concentrate on his hitting. The Mets are going to need his bat for the next six weeks.

  3. E L
    August 5, 2013 at 8:05 am

    If it were up to me it would be this for 2014:

    1. Release/ Trade Ike Davis.
    2. Trade Daniel Murphy for a good reliever.
    3. Try and sign Shin Soo Choo or sign Jacoby Ellsbury.
    4. Call up Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero.
    5. Put Jeremy Hefner in the bullpen.
    6. Call up Wilmer Flores.
    7. Call up Allan Dykstra
    7. Awesome team!

    1. Matt Harvey
    2. Zack Wheeler
    3. Noah Syndergaard
    4. Rafael Montero
    5. Dillon Gee

    1. Eric Young Jr.
    2. Shin Soo Choo/ Jacoby Ellsbury
    3. David Wright
    4. Allan Dykstra
    5. Travis D’arnaud
    6. Wilmer Flores
    7. Lucas Duda
    8. Kirk Nieuwenhuis
    9. Pitcher

  4. Marcus
    August 5, 2013 at 8:40 am

    What about Nurse and Lagares?

  5. Marcus
    August 5, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Sorry, Niese

    • August 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Yeah, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Niese is not in the 2014 rotation to start the year unless he’s traded for an OF.

  6. August 5, 2013 at 8:42 am

    To Metsense. Murphy isn’t a good match for the Dodgers who will probably go after Cano in the off season. I don’t think they’ll move Ethier because of the question marks surrounding Kemp. But I do agree about the duplication of having the same types of players playing the same position. Problem is that they’re all role players thrust into starting positions. Need to make some adjustments with the roster. I feel like the kids in the back seat when they take a long trip with their parents. Are we there yet?

  7. August 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I want no part of Lucas Duda in Queens, now or in the future. I don’t understand all the love for this Kevin Maas clone. He cannot field either position (LF or 1B) and his offense is too inconsistent to hold down a regular spot. Send him to Mike Jacobs land immediately.

  8. Chris F
    August 6, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Wilmer Flores gets the call today!

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