NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Once he passes his physical and his signing becomes official, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will very likely be slotted in as the Mets’ new starting shortstop.
But while the addition has triggered speculation that Wilmer Flores could once again become trade bait, the Mets appear primed to keep him as a way to bolster their depth.
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“We said at the beginning that we’re trying to build a team with a lot of flexibility, versatility and depth,” assistant general manager John Ricco said on Thursday. “And, so, that’s what we’re doing and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Indeed, even if Flores is displaced at shortstop, the Mets still have use for him around the diamond.
Part of the Mets’ insistence on depth is due to the health questions surrounding third baseman David Wright, who will enter his first full season after being diagnosed with the back condition spinal stenosis.
Also, while new second baseman Neil Walker is a switch hitter, his best work has come against righthanded pitching. While he has posted an .801 OPS against righties, that number sags to .656 against lefties.
By comparison, Flores has a career .692 OPS against lefthanders.
Similarly, Ruben Tejada has also been much more productive against lefties with a .718 lifetime OPS. He could also find himself in the mix at second base.
Both Tejada and Flores will spend the winter recovering from fractured ankles, though Ricco said the Mets expect the injuries to be “non-issues come spring training.”
Keeping both Flores and Tejada would fit with a formula that the Mets exploited to great success in the second half last season.
Part of the club’s offensive turnaround stemmed from the additions of veterans Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, which allowed manager Terry Collins the flexibility to take advantage of platoons.