One of the Mets’ highest priorities is to upgrade the DH performance, according to team President Sandy Alderson. So far, J.D. Davis and Dom Smith have mostly split the job, with disappointing results. Davis has a slash line of .234/.325/.345 and Smith is even worse with a .194/.276/.284 line. Is there a trade target out there who could provide an upgrade at a reasonable cost?
One interesting possibility could be Wilmer Flores, a product of the Mets farm system who contributed to the 2015 pennant-winning Mets team. Flores now plays for the Giants, and he is having a good year with the bat. In 334 PA he has slashed .253/.335/.445. He’s smacked 13 homers, he’s scored 47 runs, and he’s driven in 51. The stat that really stands out though, is his BA with RISP, its an impressive .355.
If Flores would continue at that pace in the DH slot with the Mets, it would be a distinct improvement over the current DHs. But would the Giants part with him? If they think they are going to make the playoffs, probably not.
Last year the Giants won 107 games, but their current record is 48-43. Six teams will make the expanded NL postseason, the three division winners and the next three teams with the best records. The Giants are not going to win the division, the Dodgers are far ahead. As to qualifying for one of the other three spots, they are on the outside looking in. The Braves, the Padres, the Brewers, the Cardinals and the Phils all have better records at the break.
When play resumes, the Giants are faced with a four-game set at Dodger Stadium, no easy task. So it is at least conceivable that as we near the trade deadline of August 2, the Giants might be far enough back to consider being sellers.
Flores will turn 31 in a couple of weeks, and his contract runs out this year, so he woud be a rental to whichever team, if any, acquires him. Although he profiles as a DH for the Mets, he has played a fair amount in the infield for the Giants this year. He has 21 starts at first and also third, and 15 starts at 2b with 17 starts at DH. His best position in the field is 1st base.
What would it take to pry Flores away from the Giants if they do decide to deal him off? Perhaps not a whole lot, certainly less than what the Mets gave up last year (Pete Crow-Armstrong) to acquire rental Javier Baez from the Cubs. The Mets could give the Giants their choice of either Smith or Davis plus one non-elite prospect, and that just might tempt the Giants to pull the trigger, if they thought they had only a longshot hope of the postseason.
Wilmer was a fan favorite in his run with the Mets, and he enjoyed playing for the team, but the main reason for a reunion would not be sentiment. It would be because he fits what the Mets need at the DH spot. He is a hitter with power, a decent average against both righties and lefties, and clutch-hitting abilities as evidenced by his BA with RISP.
Editor’s Note – This story was written on Tuesday, before Tim Britton’s piece in The Athletic mentioned Flores as a trade possibility.