Wilmer Flores will be putting in work this Spring Training to have himself prepared to serve as New York's super utility player, writes Mike Puma of the NY Post.
Flores, 24, has bounced around the diamond since joining the Mets organization in 2008. Last season he split time between shortstop and second base.
With the offseason signing of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, the acquisition of second baseman Neil Walker, third baseman David Wright considered relatively healthy, all things considered, and Lucas Duda manning first base, Flores was marked as the odd man out for an everyday position. Thus having the Mets working to turn him into a "jack of all trades, master of none" type player during Spring Training.
"Third base is not an issue for [Flores]," Mets infield coach Tim Teufel said. "First base, he's just going to take extra reps this spring, get him out there and get him exposed to it a little bit more. It's been a couple of years since he's played first base in the minor leagues and get him reacquainted to it."
As questions surround the unknown future of Wright, due to his spinal stenosis condition, Flores will be used as the Mets insurance policy at third baseman. Terry Collins will look to give the Mets captain consistent rest throughout the season in an effort to keep him healthy. Flores could see time at first base against left-handed pitching to spell Duda for a day off.
Flores is excited to be entering the 2016 season with a defined role for the first time in his career.
"In 2013, I got here without a role," Flores said. "Today I have a role, and it feels good. They give you the opportunity, whether it's play every day or play every other day or be a backup, I will just be ready for anything."
Last season Flores hit .263 with 16 home runs and 59 RBI in 137 games played.
Wilmer's best position is first base, interestingly enough. So, if he ends up playing there more than expected, I think he'll be fine. In the end, I see him getting around 80 starts - scattered around the infield, but most coming at third base - and a lot of at-bats off the bench.
Assuming he adjusts well to the up-in-the-air nature of his season, he's still capable of being 1-2 win player, even at 400-500 bats, while hitting around .260 with double-digit home runs.
He clearly loves being in this uniform. He loves his teammates, fans and coaches. I bet he grows to enjoy this specific job, in which he can be cast as the hero. It's a good role for him. And, despite it looking like a demotion of sorts, I believe we've yet to see his best baseball…