Now that the 2018 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a look back at the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the roster for the Mets at the end of season from B (Tyler Bashlor) to Z (Daniel Zamora). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue the series today with a look at infielder Wilmer Flores.
Player Review: Wilmer Flores
2018 Stats: 126 Games, 386 At Bats, .267 Batting Average, 103 Hits, 25 Doubles, 11 Home Runs, 51 RBI’s, 43 Runs Scored, .736 OPS
Story: Wilmer Flores entered the 2018 season as a valuable reserve player for the Mets who was expected to contribute as a platoon first baseman against left handed pitching. The Mets didn’t face a ton of lefties early in the season and Flores got off to a slow start, hitting just .193 with just two home runs and six RBI’s in his first 57 at bats. Flores started getting more regular at bats prior to a trip to the disabled list, and by the time he returned Adrian Gonzalez had been released. Despite the presence of prospect Dominic Smith on the roster, the Mets gave Flores every day at bats at first base and he produced, putting up solid if unspectacular numbers in a lineup that didn’t have a ton of depth in the middle of the year. The Mets began to phase Flores out later in the year as part of a plan to get Jay Bruce more reps at first base, but it wouldn’t matter as his season came to an abrupt end in early September due to arthritis in both of his knees.
Flores continues to be a solid contributor for the Mets at the plate, but his grade is slightly lower due to the fact that he played primarily first base in 2018. The Mets’ best path to getting value out of Flores is through his use as a utility player, and playing him almost exclusively at first base cuts into that value.
Contract Status: Arbitration Eligible (Third and Final Time)
Odds of Returning: 50%
2019 Role: Utility Player
The Mets have a tough decision to make with Flores, who is projected to earn about $5.75 million in salary arbitration. Flores is entering his final year of team control, and it is difficult to commit almost $6 million in salary towards a part time player with early onset arthritis in his knees. The Mets may opt to non-tender Flores and try and invest that money in another area of the roster, such as the bullpen, while either letting T.J. Rivera fill the utility role or upgrade that spot in free agency.
Check back tomorrow as our Player Review Series continues with a look at third baseman Todd Frazier!