One of the most popular players in recent memory for the New York Mets has a new team. Infielder Wilmer Flores, who was non-tendered by the Mets back in December, has signed a one year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. The contract is worth $3.75 million in 2019 and the Diamondbacks have a $6 million option for 2020 as well. Flores can be bought out of that option for $500,000.
The Mets first signed Flores as a 16 year old back in 2007, and he had spent his entire career with the organization to this point. Flores, who hit .267 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI’s for the Mets last season, became a cult like figure with the team’s fan base after crying on the field at the thought of potentially being traded away in the failed Carlos Gomez deal in 2015. After the deal fell through, Flores was very popular with Mets’ fans, and his walk off heroics further endeared him to the Flushing faithful.
The Mets opted to move on from Flores rather than pay him about $5 million in salary arbitration for 2019. Flores, who initially came up as a utility infielder, spent most of 2018 at first base following the release of Adrian Gonzalez. The Mets have Peter Alonso, one of their best hitting prospects, ready to compete for the job this spring so paying Flores that much money to block Alonso was counterproductive. Flores also should end up in a good situation in Arizona, which has a first base opening after trading superstar Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier in the offseason.