Baseball is a beautiful game, but it is rare that a tear is shed on the diamond. The most memorable tear ever shed on the grounds of Citi Field was undoubtedly the one that fell from the eye of Wilmer Flores, who thought that he was about to be traded from his team. The Mets had been his only team, and he had grown attached. This much love for one’s team is rarely displayed in modern day sports, and after the trade didn’t go through, led to Wilmer becoming a folk hero for the Flushing Faithful. Wilmer now shares an infield role with former Mets hero Jose Reyes.
Reyes followed a different path to get to where he currently is. After coming up with the Mets in 2003, the dynamic shortstop decided to leave the Mets for the warm confines of Miami, Florida to join the division rival Marlins following the 2011 season. A slew of injuries and legal issues followed, and Reyes found himself back with the Mets on a minor league contract during the 2016 season. He opened the 2017 season as the Mets starting third baseman after David Wright was injured. A slow start at the dish led to him loosing playing time though.
For the Mets, it is odd to see that they have shown an inexplicable amount of favoritism over a player that willingly left the team over a player that cried over his potential departure from the team. We all know Terry Collins loves his veterans, but at some point you need to play the superior player. Sure, Reyes still has an effective throwing arm from all areas of the diamond, and that’s where he is better than Flores. But at the plate, Flores is besting Reyes by over 100 points in batting average.
On the year, Flores is slugging to a .299 batting average, while also posting an OPS of .812. While his power statistics don’t jump out at you, they are still higher than Reyes’s. While Reyes may be more fleet of foot, he is nowhere close to where Flores is in consistency at the dish. With Reyes, it seems that there are more negatives than positives when he starts. While Flores may not field any infield position exceptionally well, it is not a stretch to expect him to have a hit in a game. With Reyes, it is eye opening whenever he makes solid contact.
Already at age 34, it is clear that Reyes’s playing abilities have taken a solid dip south. He no longer can hit for average, and no longer hustles when he hits balls to the infield. It is sad to see him as a shell of his former self, especially having witnessed his glory days. At 25, Flores is still developing his hitting abilities. That could be a scary thought, especially considering that he is already a proficient hitter. At this point in the season, it is only hurting Flores to be riding the pine in leu of Reyes. It could also be hurting the team, as Flores is having a better season than Reyes at the plate.