Reese Kaplan -- A Potentially Big Trade Chip


Suppose you had a slow-footed player who was not blessed with an even average glove but who has delivered on average per 162 games 20 HRs, 72 RBIs only 78 strikeouts and a .260 AVG.  Most teams would gladly find a place on the field for this level of run production.  Most teams, of course, do not operate in the puzzling manner of the NY Mets and it appears that this man’s services might better serve them as a trade chip than as a regular starter as they have been disinclined since his arrival to offer him that opportunity.

I’ve drawn parallels in the past to Jeff Kent, another player the Mets felt was not a good fit for their needs.  We know how that turned out.  Daniel Murphy is another, though Murph’s power was a late development thanks to Kevin Long’s tutelage and Washington has been reaping the benefit ever since.

So what is Wilmer Flores’ future with the club?  Pretty much everyone acknowledges the man can hit.  It’s also universally accepted that you need to hide his glove somewhere on the field in order to get his bat into the lineup.  The current manager has been disinclined to offer up a steady gig, and even the front office who many feel call the shots on the lineup and who has a disdain for defense has not advocated for increased playing time. 

Given the many holes on the ballclub – starting pitching, bullpen, 2B, 3B and the outfield – it would seem that Flores might be one of the few attractive assets the Mets could trade to another club.  Bundled with some wildcard options like Rafael Montero, Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, the Mets might actually get something of value in return. 

Granted, the front office has seemed to forget how this roster improvement option known as a trade is supposed to work.  You give up something of value and get something of equal or greater value in return.  Take a look at the many trades consummated this summer and it’s clear that principle has not been embraced.  As always, financial considerations trumped trying to win ballgames. 

Towards that end, Flores is hitting the arbitration period where he would be (by Mets standards, anyway) an expensive bench part.  Right now he’s earning $2.2 million and should surely eclipse $3.5 million next season.  Considering he cannot become a free agent until 2020, there would likely be a number of suitors (many in the AL who might see him as a DH) who would covet the kind of offensive production he’s capable of delivering.  Surely he’s worth more than a middle reliever with a 4.50 career minor league ERA who can’t find the plate with a map, a divining rod or a GPS.  Then again, when was the last time the team made a trade for a productive player?  

Here’s a hint – he once salary-dumped a Cy Young award winner for thus far Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud.  He swindled the Reds in giving up Dilson Herrera (himself a loser deal) for Jay Bruce.  (Of course he negated that victory by obtaining only 4.08 ERA relief pitcher Ryder Ryan).  He also gave away a Rookie-of-the-Year as the price to bring Yoenis Cespedes to New York.  Believe me, the other trades he’s made are far worse.  Angel Pagan?  Frankie Rodriguez?  Colin McHugh?  Carlos Beltran?  Akeel Morris? 

So while it may make sense for the Mets to trade Wilmer Flores to another club if they feel they can improve, the track record of the front office suggests that they will not hold out for a top prospect or get an established player at a position of need. 

What do you feel Wilmer Flores’ future is for the Mets?  (Answer again assuming Terry Collins is not the manager).  


Mack Ade said...

Morning Reese -

This is a tough one to answer.

I know in my heart that Terry Collins will not be the manager next year.

Therefore, anyone with common sense here would award 2B to a team controlled bat like Flores is... for at least the 2018 season.

That being said, I see Luis Guillorme as the future second baseman for the Mets and he could be ready as early as the All-Star break next season.

So, back to the original question... should we trade Wilmer now for the maximum return?

I don't know Reese... I just don't know.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese and Mack, I'd be skittish about trading Flores, give that TJ Rivera is out for part of 2018 most likely. Dom Smith needs to hit like a bona fide major leaguer - if in the spring, Smith sputters, send him down again and start Flores at 1B. He'd do great there.

Reese Kaplan said...

Mack said, "I know in my heart that Terry Collins will not be the manager next year."

I wish I had your confidence. It boggled my mind when he went from bad to worse after the first two years and was brought back. Then they repeated that same mistake. I can see it happening again, despite reports to the contrary.

@Tom -- you are thinking like a logical person. If Flores would be attractive to play every day for other clubs, then he should be attractive to play here, too. Has that happened?

Reese Kaplan said...

Also @Tom -- Phil Evans is the new TJ Rivera for 2018.

Mack Ade said...

Would you slot evans into third

Thomas Brennan said...

Evans hit like mad in 2016, ant in AAA like mad from July on. He may do just fine as a big leaguer.

Adam Smith said...

Ya gotta put him at 2B next year. Would it shock anyone to see him hit .300/24/90? My fear is that we watch him do that for another team in exchange for basically nothing.

Reese Kaplan said...

That is my fear as well. The GM has not demonstrated the ability to make trades with perhaps the exception of the Herrera for Bruce deal. In the Dickey trade he was salary dumping what would be a very expensive Cy Young Award winner.

To be fair, he did obtain Addison Reed and Tyler Clippard in trades as well for minor pieces. Those, however, are the exceptions.

Viper said...

What is Wilmer Flores?

To me, Wilmer Flores is a 2B or 1B starter for any other club except the Mets because they don't value internal options and often fail to see what is in front of them.

One would think that a player who gave them 18 hrs and 52 rbi's in 365 at bats while batting 270 would be a valuable asset. That would easily be at least 25 hrs, 70/80 runs per year from your 2B. What is wrong with that when you are making 3.5M? What did they get out of Walker for 17M?

But the Mets are simply put, a stupid organization that hires stupid, unqualified people and puts them in charge. There is no reason that after 3 years of Flores putting up numbers that suggest what he can do in a full year, that the Mets are still evaluating Flores.

Some would say that Flores doesn't have the glove and it would be a half true. It is not Flores fault that the Mets have insisted into making him into something that he is not, a 3B or a shortstop. Flores can play one of two positions, 1B or 2B and that's it.

Flores has not been allowed by the Mets to relax knowing that he will play only one position. He always has to carry a bad game on the field while trying to concentrate on hitting. If he goes 4 for 4, he could be sitting next day because Collins wants him to have a rest. If he goes 0-12, then TJ Rivera would start over him for the next 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, the Mendoza line Granderson and Reyes played because Collins needed to get them going. You can't teach stupidity, it comes naturally for some of these coaches in charge.

Reese Kaplan said...

I could see Evans getting a shot at third if they don't retain Cabrera or sign Reyes.

David Rubin said...

Viper- I agree 1000%!! Flores is a potential 30/100+ player over 600 ABs and it's the clubs fault for not signing him into a position that he could have spent the last three or four years learning to master. Daniel Murphy Will never be confused with a gold glover but His offense far outweighs any defensive shortcomings he has. The problem is that this organization never seems to learn their lessons and repeats themselves over and over. While I respect Sandy and all that he has had to cope with in dealing with a horrible ownership group his ability to lead the team in to the next level is no longer possible & The failure to learn from the Murphy debacle just proves it further. Flores' trade value has been diminished by their inability to properly handle him so the best thing for them to do would be to let him play every day and show what he can do. Sadly, weather under Terry's thickheaded control or another Wilpon puppet it's not likely to happen and we will never see the best from this great young man who deserves to be handled FA r better than he has been!!!!!

David Rubin said...

Should say "for not finding him a position "

David Rubin said...

"Sadly WHETHER..."

Viper said...

Evans at 3B? not if Collins is around or Cabrera.

Mac said...

Not sure why he cant be our starting 2B next season. I would bring back Cabrera as starting 2b or 3b. Let Reyes go, as hard as that might be to do.

Thomas Brennan said...

People almost always quote season #'s with guys. Flores was 6 for 35 with 3 RBIs in cold April as Terry glued him to the bench while Reyes hit .100.

After April he played much more (still not enough, but TJ was hot and Terry was managing) and in 300 at bats hit .288 with 18 HRs and 49 RBIs. Play Flores at 2nd (and at times at first against lefties), get him 600 at bats, and watch him give us .290/30/100. Who would bench THAT? Time for Flores to get those 600 at bats.

Flores at a very young age in AAA put up ferocious extra base hit and RBI #s. Virtually an RBI per game. What was happening then? He played daily.

Evans is my utility IF/OF/PH in 2017, not Reynolds, not Cecchini. When TJ returns, there will be a bit of a crowd, but it happens.

Viper said...

Mac, if Cabrera and Reyes were in fact dividing forces in the clubhouse, why bring either one back? Let them both go and move on with the younger players.

Pick carefully for a 3B and maybe a CF and BP. This team won't compete until 2018 unless they spend money this off season going after the best players available.

TexasGusCC said...

I would be remiss if I didn't offer some thoughts on the obstacles my most followed player has been through. Not just with Bozo the Manager, but with the Mets ability to not understand that not every player looks like Matt Reyenolds. Flores is brutally slow, and that is a detriment to his and the team's success. But, I have not seen Flores improve defensively; to put in the time to be better at a position he is playing. He worked hard in 2015 to play his favorite position, and worked hard before that in AAA to learn the pivot at 2B, but in the majors hasn't put in the time to learn third base.

He is an intelligent hitter than rarely makes an offensive mistake. He runs the bases correctly and he is a tough K because he realizes that you can't get a hit if you strikeout. Gotta love this guy. But, he better bust his ass on defense and learn to take 100 grounders a day and put a tire on a chair at first base and put it through that tire every time.

Thomas Brennan said...

TexasGusCC, great point. He needs to max out his defense to not give them any excuse, other than stupidity, for not playing him regularly and as a key member of the offense.

That said, hit with a goalie mask on, too :)

Anonymous said...

Possibly, the NYM organization does not always size up their most pressing personnel needs accurately. Take this offseason for example here. First base and third base are in my opinion here, the most pressing needs. Here's why...

Two birds with one stone. Yoenis's legs are an issue for him staying in the lineup. The Mets do not really have to have his left field prowess, they have others who can play leftfield. Move Yoenis to a position where he will be able to better protect his legs, thus his power bat in the Mets' lineup. First base solved.

Third base is Asdrubal Cabrera, 20 homeruns, .285 BA that is fine. Backing up both first and third bases...Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes.

So Thomas, what is the real most pressing off season personnel issue? It's right field actually. You have Conforto in left, Nimmo in center sharing time with Juan Lagares. It's rightfield dude. Who would I get? Simple, Domingo Santana. Trade Harvey or Matz (both are brittle), Dominic Smith because you have Peter Alonso in the system, shortstop Gimenez (won't need him with Rosario already playing), and Robert Gsellman to obtain Santana.

Mack's Mets © 2012