Wilmer Flores -- a man without a role
PHILADELPHIA -- Imagine how much easier things would be for the Mets if Wilmer Flores had developed into what they hoped when they signed him as a 16-year-old in 2007.
Flores was supposed to be the Mets' shortstop of the future, the player they could turn to if Jose Reyes got too expensive for them.
Well, Reyes is gone and the Mets don't have a shortstop. Flores is a 22-year-old without a position who may or may not have a lively enough bat to overcome his defensive deficiencies.
Flores went 1-for-5 with a double and three strikeouts Sunday playing third base in place of resting David Wright in the Mets' 4-3 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
With Wright signed for seven more seasons, Flores is not going to play third base for the Mets. He hasn't shown enough with the glove to be considered a second baseman and may not have enough power to play first.
So what is his best position? Even Flores doesn't know.
"I think . . . I can't really tell you," he said. "I mean, I know I can play third, I can play second. I know I can play first. It's really not my decision. I'm just playing where they want me to."
Unless something changes, Flores will start next season at Triple-A Las Vegas, manager Terry Collins said. The Mets have Daniel Murphy -- also once considered a good bat without a position -- at second base. Murphy (.284, 36 doubles, 12 home runs, 73 RBIs, 20 stolen bases) is quietly having the best season of any Mets regular, given the time Wright missed and the trade of Marlon Byrd.
At first base, the Mets likely will go with Lucas Duda or Ike Davis in a platoon with Josh Satin, who like Flores can play third or second. The Mets don't want Flores in the majors as the short side in a platoon. They'd prefer he get more at-bats in Las Vegas in what would be his seventh minor-league season.
"Obviously, they know me and they know what I can do," Flores said. "I've been around for what, six years?"
Flores has enjoyed his first taste of the big leagues, even if the results have been mixed. Called up on Aug. 6, he is batting .211 with one home run and 13 RBIs in 27 games. Flores filled in regularly when Wright was out with a hamstring strain, but ankle problems have limited the rookie for weeks.
"I'm able to play," he said. "There are some plays that might be hard for me to do. I'll try. I can be out there and help the team.
"It's been a great experience so far. It was a long way to get here to the big leagues. I've learned a lot so far from the guys who have been up here for a long time. I just keep learning, watching these games, watching the routines, what they do. I'm going to try to do my best. Any time I get the opportunity to play, I'm just trying to show that I can play."