Despite highly regarded prospect Wilmer Flores playing other positions with Margarita in the Venezuelan winter league, Mets VP Paul DePodesta indicated the organization has not yet resolved to move Flores from shortstop to open the 2012 season.
"That's something we reevaluate every spring with all of our infielders depending on roster composition and long-term plan," DePodesta indicated. "But at this point, yes, there isn't a plan to move him. ... Wilmer is playing where the (winter-ball) club needs him. Last winter he played primarily third base. They have our blessing to move him around, as we think that type of exposure is good for all of our infielders."
Flores, 20, is hitting .167 through 48 at-bats in Venezuela. He has made 12 appearances at third base, and two apiece at second base and shortstop.
Flores hit .269 with nine homers and 81 RBIs in 133 games for Class A St. Lucie during the regular season.
Because of below-average foot speed and a larger frame, many major league scouts have projected Flores eventually will change positions.
DePodesta has acknowledged as much as well, telling ESPNNewYork.com in August:
"We’ve talked about the benefits of him staying at shortstop and it will help him regardless of where he moves. We do think that the next move, if there is a move, and I think it’s probably likely at some point, it will be in the infield. The play at shortstop has been solid. It actually has been quite solid. The question is whether or not we think it’s going to hold up, and ultimately from his standpoint where he’s most comfortable.
“He’s played some third in winter ball. There’s been some talk about second base. We’ll discuss this as we sort of wind down the season and head into the offseason. I think we feel like regardless his time at short has been well-spent, and will continue to be well-spent if he continues to stay there. To his credit, he’s really played it well.
“He just turned 20 years old. And one thing I feel strongly about, and one thing I think we feel strongly about organizationally, is that one of the things that improves dramatically with repetitions is infield defense probably as much as anything in the game. Guys might get a little bit better in the outfield. They get better with routes and jumps. But there are limitations in terms of how much better they can get. Hitting is tough. There are limitations with how much better a guy is going to get. But infield defense, there are just a lot of stories of guys who made 30, 40, even 50 errors in the minor leagues and went on to become very solid defensive infielders in the major leagues.”
RISING STAR: Right-handed reliever Taylor Whitenton is the Mets' lone representative in Saturday's "Rising Stars Game" for Arizona Fall League all-stars. Whitenton (1-2, 4.50 ERA) allowed two runs in an inning Wednesday for Peoria and was tagged with the loss. He has allowed 11 hits and walked nine while striking out 15 in 12 innings.
OUTTA HERE? Binghamton Mets owners disputed an online report the club may be sold and relocated to Ottawa, Canada. "People may want to talk to us, but they haven't. Nobody has talked to us," team president Michael Urda told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.