Mack - Wilmer Flores: On Second Thought...

I remember the countless amount of times that I wrote on this blog that Juan Lagares was never going to make it as a major league baseball player. 

I always was impressed with his arm, but I never found anything else special about his game. He was simply pitiful as a low-level minor league shortstop and his bat turned on and off on all the levels throughout the organization.

In addition, his overall play in centerfield didn't seem like anything special. In fact, no one else wrote anything special about him either.

No, I had this guy pegged correctly... Lagares would be a AAAA player at best in his career.

Another guy I had figured out early was Wilmer Flores.

I watched him trip over himself trying to play every infield position in the game and I wrote as early as 2010 that you shouldn't waste your time on this guy either. Scouts kept saying that his bat was going to turn into something that would allow us all to accept his defensive shortcomings, but I simply couldn't see it. I became so adamant about this guy that I wrote a column earlier this year that said I was never going to write about this guy again.

Did I mention I picked Ike Davis over Lucas Duda also?

Look, we've got some problems right now trying to figure out what kind of team we are rooting for this season. We seemed to have been spoiled early on to a win-loss record that wasn't going to hold up, and we're now going through a period that has had some of the most brutal loses we have ever seen from this team, but none of this has anything to do with the players that play every day on this team.

The roller coaster ups and downs have all been about the pitching which probably is good for us since this team does have more pitching talent than hitting. Good talent always corrects itself in the end and I expect our rotation to do the same. If not, there's still Rafael Montero and Steven Matz to throw out there.

My theory of 'give up three or less runs in the first seven innings by your starter' hasn't changed... yesterday was a perfect example of this... but what I wasn't ready for this season is THE FACT that the home run leader of both this team and all shortstops in the league... is Wilmer Flores.

Flores is now on target to hit 28 home runs this season. Even I can find a place for someone like this on my team. Is this going to make him into a better shortstop? Frankly, it doesn't matter right now, especially since the bad news has come out on David Wright.

I would attempt to turn this whole defensive thing into a positive right now. No one has been under the microscope more than Flores; however, I would sit him down and applaud him for the wonderful job he has done 'carrying' this team power wise (yeah, I know, I'm pouring it on a little...). I would also try and explain to him that I need his help to try and lead this team into the playoffs while the Captain is away.

I would then try and sell him on moving over to a position he always seem to have less problems with... third base (turn this into his decision)... while, at the same time, I would assure him that we would continue to hit him either 4th or 5th in the lineup, even after Travis d'Arnaud returned (move Cuddyer down).

This would give me the opportunity to work Ruben Tejada back into the lineup and give the team a better middle infield, while, at the same time, not move Daniel Murphy around while his bat is heating up (I also would consistently hit Murphy in the #2 slot, after Granderson, and before Duda).

What I wind up with here is only one position change (Flores to third), better middle infield defense, and the best 'hitting' lineup I have available to me.

Folks... this is the best it's going to get this season. No other team is going to solve any problems here and trade to the Mets one of their 30 home run hitters. Last year we all were pleasantly surprised when we watched one of our own (Duda) develop into one. Are we doing the same right now with Flores?

I told you I had this guy pegged from the get-go.


Reese Kaplan said...

Do you think all the new-found respect for Flores would have him more regularly put into an RBI position in the batting order? 6th is good. 3/4/5 would be better, particularly with a lefty on the mound.

bob gregory said...

At this time, the best team on the field would include Flores at 3b, Tejada at SS, Murphy at 2b, and Duda at 1b.

The Mets have to determine before committing to this, just what they are going to do with Flores when Wright returns.
This includes not just short term but also long term.
The organization needs to be prepared to accept the consequences that may come along with their decisions.
For example, if Flores is yo-yoed from ss to 3b and then back to when Wright returns and then flop back to 3b when Wright needs extended time off again, this will affect his defense.
The organization would need to be prepared to take responsibility of this privately and publicly. Alderson/Wilpons/Collins would need to support Flores and take the heat/blame from the media/fans. Leaving a 23 yr old to take all of the blame when they are not putting the kid in the best position to succeed would be a classic example of poor leadership.

Rene Riquelme said...

It is a wise man to admit his errors.Great post I truly enjoy it and the move to third makes sense to me.

ZachBoyer said...

Personally I believe the best team on the field is Murph @ 3B and Flores @ 2B. The less time Murph has to think out there the better.

Anonymous said...

Flores has had to deal with a lot of adversity especially from Collins who bats him all over the place and can't seem to leave his love child (Tejada) on the bench where he belongs.

Now, before any kind of move, Wright's health must be determined and Tejada should not be part of the solution, at least in my view.

If Wright is indeed out for the year or most of it, then move Flores to 3B, Reynolds SS, and Murphy at 2B. I truly believe that the reason the Mets want to stick with Flores at shortstop is because that is the only position that is truly open until Rosario is ready. 2B is supposed to be for Herrera and 3B is Wrights unless he can't play it anymore. (all of us hoping that's not the case)

Kind of makes me think if Flores 3B, Reynolds SS, Herrera 2B could be the future?

But for Flores to make more of an impact, he has to be batted somewhere in the middle of the lineup.

Lagares, Murphy, d'Arnaud, Duda, Flores, Granderson, Cuddyer, Tejada/Reynolds. Lets face it, Granderson and Cuddyer don't belong anywhere near the middle of the lineup until they prove otherwise. You can also swap d'Arnaud and Flores.

Thomas Brennan said...

Flores would be a solid fielding 2B or 3B. If Wright is shelved, 2nd or 3rd would be fine. Flores has more time in as a 2B and has fielded better there than at 3B.

Howie Rose yesterday mentioned that Flores' lack of cat-like quickness on Ben Revere's 3rd inning grounder, on which Flores made a nice diving stop, allowed Revere to barel 6 beat it out. Utley drove in 2 runs later that inning. His defense at best will not be Andrealton Simmons, who'd have thrown Revere out, but he has been better of late at SS.

Let's get a better idea as to whether Wright will return soon and how much he'll play before shifting Wilmer, is my recommendation. He seems to be settling down Fielding wise

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

IMO, both the Mets and Flores would be best served if he hit EVERY game either in the 3/4/5 slot.

If the Mets are playing this guy because of his bat, than place it correctly.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

Any initial moving of Flores to 3B would have to be a yo-yo if Wright was to come back. That's why you need to sell this idea to Flores that it came from him

Mack Ade said...

I read all the comments even in this small sample and I see a bunch of different desires on where to place who... everybody has an opinion and, as we prove everyday, most of them are different.

The one thing I think we can agree on RIGHT NOW is... without David Wright in the infield... the best this team has to use is Murphy, Flores, and Tejada... you may not like it, but that's the best we have.

I'm afraid the solution lies in the problem. These guys have to step up and play a little better and a little smarter. The team has the pitching to get there. The catcher comes back next week. The bullpen gets over-crowded as well by the end of the month. And even through our 'darkest times' this month, the team is still over. 500 and one game out of the wild card.

Move the chess pieces around (Murphy, Flores, Tejada) one time in some direction and then let them be.

And bat Flores somewhere in the 3-4-5 slot

Anonymous said...

While we are at it, if we want to put the best team out on the field, shouldn't it include the coaching staff?

I don't see Terry as part of the future......granted, the injuries are not his fault, but he continues to make odd decisions and I think he is more detrimental to the success of this roster then beneficial.

Why not cut the cord now and put Wally in NY? It would give him a shot to show what he is capable of -AND- he has a pretty good history with a good chunk of this roster in Vegas. Like it or not. the Mets window has only started to open.....they need a better leader in the dugout.

(Right Reese???)


Mack Ade said...

Mike -

As you might know, I used to cover this team as a minor league beat reporter. I had full access to many members of the 'insider' community.

I can't tell you why I know this but there are two things you can take to the bank:

1. Wally Backman is considered 'a son' to Fred Wilpon.

2. Wally Backman will never be promoted to the Mets manager as long as Sandy Alderson has anything to say about it.

Alderson is not a big fan of Backman... period.

As for Collins, I agree that a change is needed for a younger man with a less-than fatherly approach to managment, but I can't see Alderson doing that in the middle of the season unless there was a complete collapse by this team

bob gregory said...


I fully understand that the Flores' yo-yo may be determined to be in the best interest of the Mets in 2015.
My point is that the Met organization would need to support Flores more by accepting the effect on his defense privately and publicly as being their responsibility.
Don't let the media/fans use him as a punching bag for every error/ poor decision without stepping up and redirecting the blame towards themselves and their decisions and that the kid is doing very well to overcome the hurdles they are placing in front of him.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

I understand what you are saying, but here's the problem.

The Mets can't prevent the beat reporters from going to the clubhouse at the end of the game, sticking their recording device in front of his face, asking him what seems like innocent questions, and then writing divisive material in their newspapers.

It's a union thing. The Mets can't kick them out or stop the process.

One good thing you should know... Flores handles all this bad news pretty damn good for a 23-year old.

This is just one of the downfalls for playing sports in New York City.

bob gregory said...

I know the Mets can't stop the beat writers/press.
They can however touch base with Wilmer regularly reinforcing their appreciation of him stepping up and letting him know they take the blame for putting him in a tough spot.
Wilpon/Alderson/Collins can make it a habit to add to their rehearsed press speak their appreciation of Wilmer's hard work, the tough position they have put him in and that they share responsibility for any defensive struggles.
They could also remind their pitchers of this.

Hobie said...

When Dilson returns, the best IF the Mets can field is Herrera (2B), Flores (SS) and Murphy (3B). Until then Tejada plays and the only question should be: Yo-yo Wilmer temporarily to 2B since Tejada is a better SS or slot Reuben in at 2B for the next week or so and leave Flores alone.

I'll go along with either, but prefer the 2nd. It would be nice if Reuben hit like the 2011 Reuben. Of course there is a 2011 Reuben (or better) in LV, but he's invisible.

When/IF David returns, he plays LF. Period.

Charles said...

Regarding Flores, there's is suspicion on my part that Terry just doesn't like the kid. At one point batting him ninth in a game that he hit a grand slam. Yet before the game he remarked that he wouldn't care if they pitched around him to get to Granderson(who sucks).

Let's not forget that last year Terry stuck with Tejada, almost refusing to give Flores a fair shot, until the FO basically forced Terry to play him everyday.

It wasn't until then, when he knew he'd play and finally got consistant at bats, that Wilmer started getting some hits. Terry is old school and that's fine. He wants solid defense out of his SS and the hell with whatever offense that position gives as long as the "D" is solid.

However, these Mets just don't hit very well and that's why you need to sacrifice some defense for the chance of a three run homer. Tejada doesn't give you that chance. Flores sure does.

Mack Ade said...

Charles -

I'm not trying to defend TC but... in most cases... the lineups aren't made out by Collins

Mack Ade said...

Hitting Duda and Flores next to each other could be close to lethal.

It would especially work well if there was a third potential 30+ home run bat to hit in that 3-4-5 lineup.

THAT'S what the Mets need

Mack's Mets © 2012