All of a sudden, I’ve been reading with head-scratching confusion how several bloggers are suggesting the New York Mets trade Wilmer Flores.
Why? What good would it serve other than just giving away a prospect? What could they possibly get for him now? Their confused reasoning is since the Mets have few position player prospects they should trade their best one for another. Yup, makes sense to me.
Flores has been with the Mets for just a handful of games, too small a window to ascertain his true potential, and also way too tiny for another team to figure out what to do with him or how he could fit into their plans.
The reason the Mets are having a hard time figuring out what to do with him, and only brought him up because of David Wright’s strained hamstring, is because they don’t know where to play him because he doesn’t have a true position aside from second base which is already occupied.
Wright will be our third baseman for much of the next decade; supposedly he doesn’t have the range to play shortstop or speed to go to the outfield; and Daniel Murphy is the second baseman for the foreseeable future.
Other teams also see that, and American League teams are reluctant to use young prospects as a designated hitter let alone trade for one to assume that role. Veteran bats caught in a position logjam, or those that can’t play the field, usually end up as the designated hitter.
I’ll bet you can’t name many prospects stuck in the DH role. At least none on a long-term basis.
So, where could Flores end up playing?
I wrote over a week ago he could be a first-base option should the Mets opt not to tender a contract to Ike Davis, who would then leave as a free agent. Assuming the high probability of that scenario, isn’t it likely other teams have reached the same conclusion?
And, given that, wouldn’t a team needing a bat, particularly a left-handed one, wait until Davis is a free agent instead of trading for him? Davis, after all, based on 32 homers last season, has a more immediate upside than Flores.
Trading Flores now is akin to giving him away because nobody – including the Mets – has a real understanding of his value this early in his career.
Flores could have trade value in the future, but not now. His value to the Mets, with Wright most likely out for the rest of the month if not the season, is to establish what he can and can’t do.
Even at the end of the season it would be premature to think of trading him. Should the Mets decide to test Flores at first base next year, they would want to play him there during the winter and let him compete for the spot during spring training.
Any move involving Flores prior to that would be a mistake. A knee-jerk reaction to the highest degree.