Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Wilmer for shortstop? Yes
By Adam Rubin
MIAMI -- Wilmer Flores is expected to be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas, taking the roster spot that had belonged to Omar Quintanilla.
How Terry Collins plans to divvy the playing time at shortstop remains to be seen, but clearly the Mets are dissatisfied with their production at shortstop and Ruben Tejada's playing time will diminish.
Of course, how Flores will handle the big-league speed of the game at shortstop remains to be seen. There are many skeptics.
The Mets abandoned using Flores at shortstop in the minors after the 2011 season, only to reinstate him at the position this season after he spent eight weeks at agility camp. The move, though, appeared primarily out of desperation for options.
ESPN Stats & Information's Mark Simon computed early Wednesday that Mets opponents have a .278 batting average on groundballs -- highest in MLB. That's undoubtedly attributable in some substantial part to a lack of infield range. Adding Flores may be a further drag.
Then again, the Mets need offense. They will enter the weekend series at Citi Field against the Philadelphia Phillies on a 23-inning scoreless drought, their longest since 2010. Mets shortstops this season have combined to hit .194 with no homers and nine RBIs in 103 at-bats.
Flores has committed seven errors and has a .941 fielding percentage in 24 games at shortstop with Las Vegas through Tuesday.
Flores is starting at shortstop for Las Vegas on Wednesday night at Salt Lake, which is likely why the promotion is not official. He entered the game hitting .296 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 108 at-bats. He was hitless in four at-bats at the major-league level in one start at second base this season while Daniel Murphy was on paternity leave.
Quintanilla is due to be designated for assignment.