From 2012 to 2014, Wilmer Flores hit over .300 in whichever level of the Mets minor league system he was in. In 2012 he hit .300 with 18 home runs and an .827 OPS at St. Lucie and Binghamton, two places notoriously known for being pitchers parks and leagues.
He was a top 100 prospect during those last three seasons in the minors, mostly because of his bat since we’re all convinced he’s not a top-notch defender. And by we, I mean you since I think he’s been more than serviceable moving around the diamond to fill whatever need was required.
He was signed as a 16-year old shortstop, played third base in 2012 then was moved to second. Throughout all of this, his bat never failed him. Last year in 140 games, he made a total of 14 errors but I’m sure that doesn’t matter to many because there are some advanced analytic stat out there that describes his lack of range.
Frankly, I don’t care about finding a stat like that because Wilmer Flores wasn’t brought up for his glove. He was a young bat that Milwaukee was willing to take along with a broken Zack Wheeler for an All-Star outfielder just over a year ago. And if you think that Flores wasn’t the centerpiece of that deal, think again.
No team with any sense banks on a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, especially when he’s still in the middle of recovery. Period.
Just think about that. If Sandy Alderson was clearing house and moved, let’s just say Curtis Granderson, for a young prospect and a pitcher recently diagnosed with needing Tommy John surgery, we would all look at the prospect as the centerpiece of the deal.
With the recent signing of Jose Reyes to a minor league deal, everyone expects the 33-year old to play third base over Wilmer. Marc Carig of Newsday reported last week that the team will hold a private workout with Cuban defector Yulieski Gourriel.
It was this circumstance that allowed for Sandy Alderson to collect talent last year without a concern for the overall payroll. While both Kevin Kernan of the New York Post and our own Mets Daddy believe it’s time to sign Gourriel, I wonder what happens to Wilmer.
His bat in the lineup made sense to follow through with this Earl Weaver-ish team that the front office has put together for this year. In case you haven’t heard, the Hall of Fame manager’s motto was “It’s pitching, defense and the 3-run homer.” Well, the staff’s ERA of 3.17 is second in all of baseball and Jeurys Familia‘s 26 saves leads the league. Defensively, they’ve committed 39 errors, rank 12th with a .985 fielding percentage and Asdrubal Cabrera who’s defense, to quote Kristie Ackert of the Daily News is “considered just slightly above Flores”, has been proving scouts wrong according to Joe Giglio of NJ.com.
That just leaves the 3-run homer, something that this team is doing minus the three. This lineup is tied for seventh in the league with 96 home runs…which makes the league-worst .210 batting average with runners in scoring position hurt even more. They’ve only hit 14 RISP home runs, but despite these pathetic offensive numbers they remain within striking distance of first place in the NL East.
I predicted they would win the wild card, so despite the worries and concerns with the Braves I didn’t panic until last week when they finally lost their place atop the wild card standings. But as they head into a 14-game stretch against the Nationals, Cubs and the same Fish I considered a possible problem in February, the team is in a good position once Juan Lagares comes off the DL on July 1.
He made sense as an extra outfielder before they signed Cespedes, but as a 5th option and bat off the bench De Aza has been horrible with a .169 batting average. I don’t get to watch many games, but seeing him fail to put down a sacrifice bunt and get doubled up because HE DIDN’T RUN IT OUT was the final straw.
Maybe a team is willing to part with a minor prospect for De Aza, but maybe it’s also time to cut ties with Flores as well. I’m clearly a big fan, but there’s not much room for him on the roster this year. If they do convince Gourriel to come to Queens, he’s either the third baseman for the near future, a second baseman that blocks the path of Dilson Herrera or the bridge between Lucas Duda and Dominic Smith at first.
Either way, that moves Wilmer to the back burner, destined to get moved then come back and haunt us like the aforementioned Carlos Gomez or Justin Turner, just to name two. Sadly, I don’t have a better answer for any of this. It’s a problem any team would want to have – too many quality players for too few positions. Just so long as De Aza isn’t part of the equation going forward.