Wilmer Flores’ time with the Mets officially came to an end today. He was informed that the team has decided against tendering him a contract, officially making him a free agent.
Flores was due to make 4.5 million dollars in arbitration this upcoming season. Despite his emergence as a fan favorite, his injury history and lack of a clear cut role with the team ultimately led to his dismissal.
The story of Wilmer Flores and the Mets is a fascinating one. Signed at age 16, he has spent 11 years with the organization.
Like many others who have worn the blue and orange, Flores had a potent bat and a suspect glove. Desperate for offense, the Mets gave Flores the starting shortstop job in 2015. He held his own offensively, but his defense was an issue. Aside from replacing injured teammates, he would no longer be a starter in Queens.
For the last three years Flores has been a utility infielder and power threat off the bench. His propensity for punishing left handed pitchers has thrust him into a few platoon situations as well.
In July of 2015, Wilmer Flores stole the hearts of Met fans forever.
During a game against the San Diego Padres, it was reported that Wilmer Flores, along with Zack Wheeler, had been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez. News of the deal somehow reached Flores, who inexplicably remained in the game. Flores became emotional and teary eyed over the prospect of leaving the only team he had ever known.
The deal fell through, and Flores began to receive boisterous ovations from the Citi Field faithful who saw how much the team meant to him.
A few nights later, the Mets, in the thick of a pennant race, were tied against the Washington Nationals in extra innings. Met fans in attendance were treated to a Hollywood ending.
Flores continued to prove he had a knack for the dramatic. He is currently the Mets’ all time leader in walk off hits and RBIs.
Heroics aside, Flores has had trouble staying on the field. This is due in part to his subpar fielding and his injury history. His 2018 season ended when it was revealed he had arthritis in both of his knees.
Over six seasons with the Mets, Flores posted a .262 batting average. The 68 homeruns he had while only averaging 300 at bats a year was impressive. But his .302 on base percentage was not.
How bad was his defense?
For his career Wilmer Flores has a WAR of 0.9. Jeff McNeil has a career WAR of 2.4. Well, damn. (The WAR stat is explained here.)
It will hurt to see him go, but I have to admit it was the right move. There just isn’t a spot for him any longer.
Best of luck, Wilmer!