Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
While a lot of people are salivating over the prospect of Yoenis Cespedes foolishly turning down a five year offer in Baltimore to take a one year offer to play out-of-position in New York, there are other ways to address the seemingly weak outfield dilemma. I had opined several weeks ago that Colorado had a surplus of outfielders, all of whom hit from the left side of the plate. Now with Gerardo Parra under contract, that surplus became even bigger.
Why that’s important to Mets fans is that they do now have another glaring need to address in Denver – the upcoming April 4th domestic violence trial of Jose Reyes that was announced yesterday. For those folks who may have missed it, his wife, Katherine Ramirez, was admitted to the hospital in October in Hawaii with injuries to her neck, face and leg as a result of what the police department classified as “abuse of a family member.”
The long term ramifications for Reyes are unknown at this point. Major League Baseball, in the wake of NFL scandals involving domestic violence, gave the commissioner fairly wide latitude for disciplinary actions regardless of how the courts rule when a professional ballplayer is involved in such an incident. Furthermore, the rules for non-citizens convicted of a crime of this nature could lead to deportation for the Dominican-born shortstop.
Consequently the Colorado Rockies are in a position where they may have to turn in-house to utility man Daniel Descalso to man the position in Reyes’ absence. Think Ruben Tejada in terms of offensive ability – a career total of 15 HRs (more power), 133 RBIs and a .238 AVG. Tejada is not much better – 10 HRs, 148 RBIs (in 500 more ABs) and a .255 AVG. Ridding themselves of the $2.5 million man (arbitration projection) does not seem to be in the cards for the Mets as it would be at best an incremental improvement over their current solution.
However, the man without a position in New York, Wilmer Flores, suddenly becomes a very interesting fit for a team that may have to plan for an offense going long term without Jose Reyes. While he certainly cannot bring Reyes’ speed to the table, in his brief 837 AB career he’s already hit 23 HRs and driven in 101 at sea level. Imagine what boost the Mile High City would do to those offensive number. Given Reyes rapid deterioration defensively, there’s not much of a difference there either.
Although he’s undervalued by his current team’s fan base, remember he was going to be the centerpiece of a trade that would have brought Carlos Gomez to New York last year. Apparently the talent evaluators in the game see value in what he can do with the bat. Consequently, could Wilmer Flores be part of a deal for one of the Colorado Rockies outfielders?
I went into depth in this piece about the pros and cons of each player. Now that the team has inked Alejandro De Aza, the need for another left handed bat is minimal. As it is, they would be going to battle with Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda in the lineup every day, with right handers Travis d’Arnaud, David Wright and the two newly acquired switch hitters in Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. Having a right handed hitting outfielder would help balance out the lineup, but the talent of the three Rockies outfielders make fielding an all-lefty outfield palatable.
From the Mets perspective, Wilmer Flores is an offensive insurance policy against injury to David Wright. However, there’s still Dilson Herrera waiting in the wings in Las Vegas. There’s also Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini as infielders on the rise as well. There’s Ruben Tejada, too.
The question to ponder is whether a Wilmer Flores for Corey Dickerson straight-up deal would make sense for both sides? If you’re willing to consider Yoenis Cespedes playing out of position, why not the cheaper and younger Dickerson? In about the same amount of time in the majors as Flores he’s delivered .299/39/124. While Flores (to many) is not much of a shortstop, the fact is that solid hitters in that premium position are very hard to find.
To get All-Star Charlie Blackmon you’d probably have to sweeten the pot a bit and to consider the oft-injured Carlos Gonzalez it would merely be a starting point. Is this kind of deal worth exploring?