Mike Freire - What To Do With Wilmer?


I think it is fair to state that Wilmer Flores is one of the more polarizing figures
on the Mets' roster.  Some fans think he is a Designated Hitter trapped in a league
that doesn't have the position available, while other feel that he is a source of untapped potential that simply needs to be given a legitimate opportunity to thrive.

Sadly, regardless of what he brings to the table, he is best known for the "crying episode" from a couple season ago, which is probably a bit unfair when you consider the circumstances.

I tend to fall somewhere in the middle, as I have been a fan of his offense but extremely leery of his defensive abilities.  Despite this feeling, he certainly has a flair for the dramatic as he has quite a few "walk off hits" during his career which is interesting.

To date, WF has a total of 1753 plate appearances which is just shy of three full seasons of plate appearances (if we use our customary figure of 600 plate appearances as a "full season").  If you compare that to the six seasons he has been on the Mets' major league roster, it would be accurate to say that he plays roughly "half of the time", enhancing the argument made by some fans that he hasn't had a real shot at a regular role.

His appearances in the field are pretty much evenly divided between all four infield positions, which adds additional fuel to the fire that he has been "jerked around" for his entire career, or perhaps it has been done in an effort to hide his poor defense?

During his 1753 plate appearances, he has produced the following statistical line;

.260/.301/.427  (.727 OPS)

62 HR/227 RBI/3 SB/186 RS

0.5 WAR (includes -4.0 dWAR)

***For the counting statistics, an average "full" season would include 20.67 HR/75.67 RBI/1.0 SB and 62 RS, which isn't too shabby, but his dWAR is bordering on atrocious.

For the 2018 season, he has compiled 171 plate appearances so far, which works out to roughly one quarter of a season (again, in line with his "part time" career usage rates).  During that time, he has produced the following statistical line;

.258/.322/.430  (.752 OPS)

5 HR/25 RBI/0 SB/15 RS

0.0 WAR (includes -0.5 dWAR)

***Again, solid contributions with the bat, but poor defense pretty much cancels out that benefit.

In short, his statistical line for the current season is pretty much in line with his career averages.  Yes, he still hasn't gotten a "full shot" at one position, but he isn't exactly lighting the world on fire, either. His career OPS is in the low .700's, which by scale is decidedly AVERAGE.  He also has a neutral WAR, which is due to the fact that
his offensive abilities are cancelled out by his lack of defense and base running.

Put all of that together and you get a valuable "bench piece", but not necessarily a full time player which is exactly what he has been for the Mets.  Since 2018 is pretty much a lost cause, our focus should move to the future, so the question becomes "what do you do with him moving forward"?

The Mets have one more year of control (2019), before he becomes a free agent in 2020, so a decision will need to be made relatively soon.  Do you trade him to an American League contender where he can thrive in a DH/Bench type role or do you
keep him around and extend his contract in 2020?

If you choose the latter, answers to the following questions will need to be answered.

1.  Will his increased cost justify what he currently brings to the team each day?

2.  Is he worth more as a trade chip or as member of the active roster?

3.  If he "gets paid" will it force the team to find a more regular spot in the lineup?

4.  If so, where would you put him so that his defensive liabilities are minimized?


Thomas Brennan said...

We have a very flawed team. Wilmer, due to his defensive limits, is flawed. He could be perhaps a solid first baseman but the flawed fielding Peter Alonso is the heir apparent there, most likely, unless Pete is sent packing to an AL team (hopefully not - I want that bat in Citifield).

I have long felt that if Wilmer played almost every day (as he did in the minors) he would excel offensively. When he played every day as a 21 year old in AAA some years back, he had a stretch where for about 140 games he knocked in something like 135 runs. But he has never gotten to play everyday in the bigs.

I hope he gets his chance. An AL team where he can play and DH too would be his best bet.

Anthony Carnacchio said...

Bench piece on a good team

Reese Kaplan said...

The best way to answer the question as to Wilmer's potential is, as Tom suggest, play him every day. Didn't the Mets play Daniel Murphy, Mike Piaza and other assorted Dr. Strangegloves in order to get their bats into the lineup?

Bob Gregory said...

Right now, Wilmer should be playing every day. He can show what he is capable of to the Mets or another team that might have interest in a trade.

Erica Lay said...

He needs to play everyday at a single position. Wilmer was a huge failing of Terry Collins. It's hard to develop when you know you'll be benched indefinitely after going 0 for 4, (especially after you were just crushing the ball for the previous two weeks).

Jack Flynn said...

I see Wilmer as a bat-first backup infielder/platoon partner at first, second or third base. He reminds me of Jed Lowrie - a guy that shouldn't play every day unless he is on a bad team or filling in for an injured starter. If you get 400 strategically rewarded at-bats out of Wilmer, you will get a 110 OPS and be happy with it.

Were I the Mets' GM, I'd be playing him four times a week - twice at first, once at second, once at third. I'd do this at least until Asdrubal is traded, then would be playing him several times a week at second while platooning him with Dom Smith at first.

Robb said...

Tp get the most out of wilmer youd be looking for a team with a weak firstbaseman and a dh platoon. last year he would have made perfect sense for the red sox, probably still does, but he's perfect for an Al team where he can get starts and 1st, 2nd, 3rd and dh. mostly dh/1b but added flexibility. especially on a team that is left hand hitting dominant. Ive always like flores, but for him and the mets they are probably best off sending him to an Al team. The Astros, red sox, cleveland would all make sense. He'd be perfect for the Angels if they didnt still have Pujols taking up a roster spot.

Mike Freire said...

I agree that he should get more PT for the rest of this year, since it is a lost cause at this point. Plus, it would potentially showcase what he can (and cannot) do for other suitors.

Nice guy......I wish the NL had a DH.

Viper said...

Wilmer = Murphy. Good bats, bad defense.
Just like Murphy, Wilmer's best position is 1B but he plays for the Mets who have a star player in every position so there is no room at 1B for Flores because the Mets need to play Smith.

Other times they need to play Bruce at 1B because since he is an outfielder, it makes him automatically a better defensive 1B than Flores. (Mets logic)

Flores right now on this team, has more potential to drive in more runs than just about any other starter. Let him play 1B the rest of the year and see where he ends up.

Mack's Mets © 2012