Legends On Deck

Wilmer Flores is the Odd Man Out on the 2017 Mets

This offseason, I marveled at the fact that Wilmer Flores was the first New York Met since Oliver Perez in 2008 to take the club to arbitration. Flores ultimately won with the independent arbitrator, upping his salary to $2.2 million for the 2017 season.

After having to sit out the remainder of the 2016 season with a wrist injury suffered on September 10 colliding with Atlanta Braves catcher AJ Pierzynski on a play-at-the-plate, Flores is making solid cash for a man that has become a cult favorite in New York and a clutch hitter when it counts for the 2017 season. He’s earned it.

With that being said, I believe that Wilmer Flores is the odd man out for the 2017 Mets. In fact, I don’t see how he fits into the equation for a majority of playing time on the big league club.

It breaks my heart to think this, but I genuinely believe it is the case.

For starters, I have felt that Flores should platoon with Lucas Duda at first base as the right handed counterpart to the lefty brute, who is returning after a back injury in . However, that particular position has been the subject of a lot of talk during the offseason. Besides Duda, rumors have been floating around that Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto will be seeing time on the right corner of the infield during Spring Training. More importantly, with David Wright and his spinal stenosis, it has also been rumored that the Mets have been thinking of moving him to first as well.

Where does #4 fit in that scenario? He doesn’t. If first base is going to be THAT crowded in 2017, Flores is figuratively moving down in the depth chart, with a lot of importance placed on Bruce, Conforto, and Wright’s bats in the lineup.

There is another obstacle in Flores’s projection in the Mets lineup: JOSE REYES.

After being brought back by the Mets in the summer of 2016, Reyes subsequently took over Flores’s role as a utility infielder for the remainder of the season, playing second, third, and shortstop. The 2011 National League Batting Champion has been an immediate spark plug in the Mets, especially in the top of the batting order, in spite of Curtis Granderson’s fantastic 2015 as the leadoff man. Reyes’s versatility has paid dividends.

However, it puts the Mets in between a rock and a hard place as it comes to Flores. With a healthy Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, plus Reyes most likely being the go-to at third in case of Wright’s status, Flores is the odd man out in that infield.

Flores couldn’t even make a move towards the outfield, if needed. With the everyday lineup being Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce being projected in 2017 left-to-right, plus with the aforementioned Conforto and Juan Lagares in need of playing time, it is difficult to even think of converting Flores to become a corner outfielder.

Wilmer Flores is a special player looking to break out. Although he is only 25, he has displayed a lot of pop in his bat. Over the course of the past two seasons and 845 plate appearances, he has averaged .265 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs. Flores, as alluded to earlier, also has a flare for the dramatic, having a few walk-off hits over two seasons, including the infamous game-winner against the Nationals in 2015 and the underrated three run homer off the bench on July 7, 2016 to help put the Mets over on Washington 9-7.

To put this thing in full circle, who did Flores hit the homer off of in that particular game? OLIVER PEREZ.

It’s sad to say, but Wilmer Flores is the odd man out on the 2017 Mets. Could he come in handy if, God forbid, someone in the infield goes down? ABSOLUTELY. But with a crowded roster and the opportunities a few and far between, it will be tough to see some playing time for #4 this season.

Jon was born in Queens and now resides in New Jersey. He is a die-hard Mets fan and believes HoJo should be in the Mets Hall of Fame. Not only is Jon a contributing writer on Legends On Deck, but he also is the founder of @HardwayHQ, host of the #TheHardwayPodcast and somewhat plays Air Hockey on http://HardwayHQ.com. You can follow Jon on Twitter @TheJonHarder

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