What should the Mets do with Wilmer Flores?

The most interesting players are the ones where reasonable, intelligent people can disagree. Juan Lagares and Zack Wheeler certainly fall in this category. But perhaps the poster boy for this player right now is Wilmer Flores. My personal belief is that the top priority for the Mets’ GM this offseason is to make the correct determination on which pitchers can fill which roles. But perhaps the next biggest priority is to identify the right role for Flores.

Let me state my bias upfront: Flores cannot play third base. The Mets choose to draw the line at when and where people can play defensively at odd points. They played Flores at shortstop and they played Lucas Duda in both corner outfield spots. Yet they refused to allow Flores to play the outfield, which was at least a bit curious back in the “what outfield?” days.

The defensive numbers for Flores are bad yet not Duda-in-the-OF level of terrible. But he’s both slow and without great reflexes, his glove is nothing special and his arm is neither strong nor accurate. It’s not the dream portfolio for a Gold Glove Award winner.

Still, the Mets continue to trot him out at third base so that Asdrubal Cabrera can play second base. Perhaps the Mets value a steady veteran as a DP partner for Amed Rosario as he breaks into the majors. Regardless, it still seems backwards to me.

If the Mets retain Cabrera and don’t make any significant infield acquisitions, how would you play the infield in 2018? Would you continue to play Flores at 3B? If not, shouldn’t Rosario and Flores get reps together now turning double plays? That would seem to be more beneficial in the long run than having to learn a new partner in Spring Training.

To me, the only reason that Flores should be playing third now is to play Gavin Cecchini at second base to see if he’s suited there. When the Mets punted by trading most of their veterans on expiring deals, the next logical move was to play anyone who might be able to help in 2018. That’s Cecchini in the infield and Brandon Nimmo in the outfield. Cecchini has 996 PA in Triple-A; it’s time to fish or cut bait with him.

Back to Flores. Aside from his defensive issues, there was the question if he could hit righties at all. Currently, he has a career high mark against RHP in both OPS (.789) and ISO (.190) as well as a .282 BABIP. That may seem low but for Flores, a guy who runs lower than normal BABIPs – career mark of .271 – it actually represents better than normal results in the category.

So, is this a relatively young guy hitting his stride or is it that the hits are falling in and he’s taking advantage of pitchers who haven’t adjusted to his weaknesses? Beats me but it doesn’t seem like either position is unreasonable at this point.

So, let’s see Flores with regular ABs the rest of the season. Let’s see him get time at both 2B and 3B so that Cecchini gets consistent reps, too. And let’s move Cabrera to two or three starts per week instead of every day. Let’s see how Rosario and Flores work together in the middle infield. Let’s see what Flores’ numbers look like with 100 more PA against righties.

And let’s be open to declining Cabrera’s option for 2018.

13 comments for “What should the Mets do with Wilmer Flores?

  1. Eraff
    August 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I would actually look at the distribution of fielding chances at 2nd and 3rd…and I’d play Wilmer wherever the ball would find him less often. Even more Granular, I’d employ a Shift to Match strategy similar to the one game episode with d’Arnaud..a “fluxy” defensive set with players in place to match best fielders with the likelihood of a fielding chance. That already happens to some extent…I’d employ it with Wilmer on a bigger scale….yes..Play by Play

    I don’t believe he’s a meaningfully better/worse fielder as a “set” 2b or 3b….he is a big target for bunts, and he’s very exposed on Nub shots as a 3rd baseman—he is very low on the bar for making that charging barehanded throw…. I’d probably want to see a “chance count” on those plays to understand the exposure.

    I view him a a nice 425 ab guy…and able bench bat…. a guy who may be skillfully hidden on a team with other players who do not fit his Profile—for instance, TJ is Flores without the Pop…maybe a worse fielder. Tough to carry both. Wilmer could have nicer value as an AL Trade Chip.

  2. August 23, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Next year’s lineup looks weak if no trades or FA’s are added.
    Therefore, Wilmer’s bat will be needed 100%.
    I think 2b is a shot for him to start with Cecchini and TJ in reserve roles if he falters.
    Need a big bopper at 3rd next year, Moustakas, or a trade for Longoria ? Something like that will be necessary or the lineup will be outscored night in and night out with only 2 real RBI threats (Cespedes and Conforto) if Wilmer sits.

    Sandyman- get busy ! You saved the cash, now make the dash to improve the team !

  3. Eraff
    August 23, 2017 at 10:53 am

    I believe they will add one Bat…. and an OF Bat will be cheaper than Moose.

    Moose Plus Nimmo/Lagares Versus Cabrera/Flo/Tj/Cheech Plus Bruce(or another OF Bat…I think that’s the “Menus”

    The 2nd “Choice” is similar production, worse defense, and probably 10 million dollars a year Plus an extra 2-3 years commitment to Moose.

    I’d love both Moose and Bruce—that won;t happen.

  4. Koos
    August 23, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Geese,play the guy every day to end the season. If his defense doesn’t look good enough trade him to an AL team. If it looks like his bat makes up for his defense you play him at third or second whichever one you didn’t improve over the offseason.

  5. Chris F
    August 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Find an AL trade partner and move on.

  6. John Fox
    August 23, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    I think his best NL position is first base, his throwing would not come into play much and he is going to beas good or better than most first basemen on grounders. If Dominic Smith doesn’t cut it, then Wilmer’s your first baseman.

  7. Pete in Iowa
    August 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Speaking of cutting bait…. The only move for Flores is to deal him to an American league club which needs a right-handed DH. It’s really the only move with him that would produce some value.
    Nearly every night he is on the field his defense is exposed, whether that be his reflexes, arm, glove and perhaps most importantly, his feel.
    I like the guy, but his only real value as a ball player is as a DH. It’s time to move on. I’m pretty sure that he would garner a fairly decent and usable return for next season.

  8. Mike
    August 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Lets move Cabrera the hell off this team.

  9. Metsense
    August 23, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Flores is put at three positions by the Mets. He has a wOBA of 332. In the NL the average 1b has a 357 wOBA, 2b has a 317 wOBA, and 3b a 331 wOBA. Offensively Flores would work at 2b or 3b. The Mets will need to sign a third baseman or second baseman that is offensively better than Flores. Second baseman that fit the description are Neil Walker, and Jed Lowrie. That would mean Flores at 3b. Mousakas and Frazier fits the bill at at 3B which would make Flores a 2B where he would give the Mets at offensive position advantage. Flores bat can’t carry the weight to play 1B. Flores is a good bench player but if forced to be a starter then he should be a 2B.

  10. Chris F
    August 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    And so he starts at 2b daily. He performs best with a limited role in the field. Once he has to play daily, then the holes get bigger. I cringe at the thought of the failed DPs because of the slow feet and arm, and bad baseball instincts. Hey maybe I’ll be wrong. And the worst thing is that it will put a huge amount of demand on a rookie at shortstop to make up for the lost ground up the middle. Also, it will leverage against a rookie first baseman. Unless there is a solid vet on the infield somewhere, I expect the “who’s on first” routine to go unabated in 2018.

  11. Eraff
    August 23, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Positioning and Shifts and a “shift/switch to Match” tactic does a lot to Mitigate Range limitations. He has good hands…bad feet make him less nimble, and feet affect throwing more than anything else.

  12. Mike Walczak
    August 23, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I like Flores, but I like players with more upside. If Flores had some speed and defensive skill and a higher OBP he would be a good player to have on the team next year. The Mets need a good 3B and CF and……..Catcher.

  13. TexasGusCC
    August 23, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Flores’ best position is second base. He turns a nice double play with average range and he hits well for the position. I don’t get the “veteran partner” for Rosario. What is that veteran going to do, field for him? The nice thing about Cecchini is that he can play both SS and 2B, so the a middle three of Rosario, Flores and Cecchini is a good strong unit. In fact, Flores is the strongest of the three right now.

    The Mets seem to want to see Flores at third and he can do a good job if he’s interested in putting in the work necessary. Flores has a strong enough arm and it shows on plays that he needs to let it go but for some reason when he has extra time, he aims it too much.

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