Wilmer Flores should be this year’s Justin Turner

Wilmer Flores Justin Turner truly defined what a utility player actually could be last year.  He played 23 games at third base, 18 games at shortstop, 15 games at first base, and 12 games at second base.  He didn’t have as many at bats as in previous years, 200 AB, but he still managed to hit .280 for the season.  The ability to play multiple positions was a valuable asset for Collins who had to navigate through injuries in-season. Now that Turner has moved on to the Dodgers, the Mets have an opening for a utility bench player and so far, no one has supplanted themselves with that distinction.  The shortstop position looks to be Ruben Tejada’s job despite recent starts by Wilmer Flores in a few games during spring training.   It’s unclear what the plans for Flores are to start the season; whether the organization wants him playing every day will no doubt be a factor.  But why not give him Turner’s old job as a super utility guy?

The knee-jerk adverse replies to that plan would be claims that he needs to play every day to maximize his value/production.  Also, one may take into factor his age and whether it would be advantageous to have him starting the majority of games on the bench.  Well, if that’s the logic you side with, then Omar Quintanilla or Anthony Seratelli would then be part of your ball club to start the season.  Is that fair for Flores? Does that make the Mets a better team?

Now 22, Flores has played in the minor leagues for six years since signing in 2007 at the age of 16. He’s thrived and progressed at every level of the minors culminating last season with a major league call-up. After hitting .321 with 86 RBIs in 107 games at Triple-A Las Vegas, Flores started 25 games at third base for the Mets.  He’s played all four infield positions in the minors, and made similar transitions by playing multiple positions for the Mets, albeit sparingly at shortstop this spring.  There is nothing left for him to prove at the minor league level, at least offensively.  If anything, Flores’ growing physique will hinder his range defensively more than the level he plays at.  The offense is where his value lies and he’s ready for the majors despite his limitations defensively.

The Mets have the opportunity to win more games this season with some off-season acquisitions that should project as upgrades.  David Wright and Daniel Murphy will most likely be productive per their past history, but Tejada and the first basemen’s productivity are hard to predict.  Flores showed timely hitting last year along with a capable glove.  If Collins could give him spots starts on a weekly basis as well as frequent pinch-hitting opportunities, there’s no reason to think Flores will not continue to develop as a major leaguer.

There are two schools of thought on this matter regarding everyday playing time at the minor league level versus the sporadic time in the majors.  While each argument garners logic, which option will give the Mets the chance to win more games this year?  The answer seems obvious.

11 comments for “Wilmer Flores should be this year’s Justin Turner

  1. March 21, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I have been saying this for a while now, so totally agree. I like him at SS with Colon on hill especially. The key is to use him more as super-sub and less as last resort.

    I don’t think Murphy will be here a year from now, and in some respects I am surprised he’s still here now.

  2. March 21, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Flores should be the everyday shortstop, Period.

  3. Patrick Albanesius
    March 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I’d love to see Flores get time in everywhere, and see where he best fits. Getting him 10-15 ABs a week might be tough, but worth it for his development.

  4. Name
    March 21, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Little bit off topic but… Justin Turner, opening Day 2nd baseman for the Dodgers. If he were on the Mets, people would be crying foul over the management for letting that happen and there would be mass panic and proclamations of a sub-70 win team among fans.

    • Jerseymet
      March 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      I look for Justin to blossom with the Dodgers. Justin was always a gamer. I never understood the bloggers dislike of him. I wish him well.

    • Chris F
      March 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      People are crying out. This Australia business is making it a bit of a disaster. Hes not an every day 2B. Sure its a feather in his cap, but Red wont be playing there for long.

  5. March 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    It will greatly surprise me if Colon, has close to the season he had last year. The Oakland Coliseum has more foul space than any other stadium in baseball. So if you a fly ball pitcher, it gives you a big advantage. At 40 yrs old how much can you “really” expect out of him. Why did the A’s by pass him in there last play off game for Sonny Grey. Even after his great season.

    • Jerseymet
      March 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      I never liked signing Colon. We have too many internal options. I hope Sandy trades him soon.

  6. pal88
    March 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I fall on the side to give the ss position to flores..it should be his until he proves he is such a defensive liability that his bat doesn’t offset the defensve impact…period..we need offense

  7. Jerseymet
    March 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Let Wilmer play SS at Las Vegas for a few weeks. Then bring him up to start at SS.

  8. Metsense
    March 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Last year the Mets were actually innovative in that they chose an offensive player to be the back up middle infielder instead of the usual no stick middle infielder. Turner held his own defensively and did not embarass himself at shortstop. If the starter got injured the replacement was in Las Vegas. Turner’s 2013 .704 OPS was higher than three starters so in the Mets case, Turner can be considered an “offensive” player.
    Flores had a solid season in AAA and using him like they did Turner could work. Some may argue that he should get another month in AAA in order to come up as the starting shortstop. When cooler heads prevailed, many thought he was an inadequate second baseman. Desperation has now made him a consideration for starting shortstop. ???
    Flores has nothing left to prove at AAA so adding him to the bench over Quintinilla would improve the team as long as TC gets him enough at bats. It worked with Turner last year and Flores is a better offensive player than Turner.

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