By Gem Tablak
Last year unbelievably, the Mets handed the SS job to Wilmer Flores knowing they would be getting more of an offensive player over a defensive one. While Flores signed as a 16 year old SS, it was always perceived past single A that he would be a substantially better 2nd baseman & even an above average 3rd baseman as well & he is.
His 2015 season defensively wasn’t great at all & that was to be expected however offensively he had hit 16 HR’s while driving in 59 RBI in 483 AB’s with an average of .263, .295 OBP & a .408 slugging percentage. He ended up losing his starting job at the end of the season as it seemed like he was starting to get tired in his first season where he started out the year starting for the big club.
In the offseason, the Mets upgraded defensively over Flores while it seems like not skipping a beat offensively with the signing of Asdrubal Cabrera. The Mets had also traded Jon Niese for Niel Walker straight up so that pushed Wilmer back to the bench in which he was to play the IF utility role. Personally I was expecting Flores to still get a decent amount of playing time especially since Walker doesn’t hit particularly well vs LHP, however Walker started the season hitting everything in sight while Cabrera was providing solidly both offensively & defensively. So that just left Flores catching some of their days off as well as giving Duda a break vs LHP.
Then Duda played his last game before going on the DL on May 20th, 7 days later Wright played his last game before going on the DL which put his season to an end. Naturally Flores picked up more playing time but not as much as presumed, it seemed like Collins really wanted to give Ty Kelly a shot over both youngsters Flores & even SS Matt Reynolds who can also play 2nd & 3rd as well. Then on May 31st, James Loney came on board & came on strong while having a slash line of .294/.345/.471 in the month June while putting up solid defense however he seemed to hesitate going to the right into the hole between him & Walker, it looks like he’s been more aggressive as of recent so that pushed Flores over to 3rd more regularly to fill in for DW5.
The Mets decided to sign Jose Reyes after being released by the Colorado Rockies because of the young phenom Trevor Story. He appeared in his first game on July 5th & has been batting .213/.269/.511 with 3 HR’s & 2 SB’s while playing 3rd base & an occasional SS. However what that did was squeeze Flores out of the starting mix again while being one of the hottest hitters on the team.
So who is responsible for this? Yes, Sandy Alderson is the GM, but I do believe he was egged on by Jeff Wilpon because like many of us, Jeff was a big fan of Jose from his days prior with the Mets. So I give Sandy Alderson a pass, however I cannot forgive the man that fills out the line up card every day & the Wilpons continue to let him. I think Terry Collins is out of his element & doesn’t understand the new age of NL play but is a terrific “Yes man”. #FreeWilmer