Expect the Mets to acquire a starting shortstop
In the nine weeks that have passed since the Mets last played a game, Wilmer Flores has not transformed into a legitimate starting shortstop.
In the meantime, the Mets signed outfielder Michael Cuddyer and then immediately made it known that acquiring a shortstop was one of the next moves on their agenda.
After noting that they’d like to upgrade at shortstop, Sandy Alderson – in direct response to a question about what he would do if Flores wound up as the Opening Day shortstop – said he “wouldn’t panic.”
Alderson’s “wouldn’t panic” quote as it pertains to Flores has to be one of the more amusing backhanded compliments he’s ever given a player.
While the Mets noted that they’d like to upgrade at shortstop, criticizing Flores in public would be something that not only hurts their negotiating power but makes them look foolish. Complimenting Flores – even in a backhanded fashion – is something the Mets have to do until they find his replacement.
Still, there are many who are convinced the Mets are content heading into the season with Flores as their shortstop.
To be convinced that Flores is the Mets’ choice at shortstop is to ignore three key things…
- Wilmer Flores is not a shortstop. No matter how you twist Flores’ tiny defensive sample size from 2014, Flores simply does not have the range to be an average shortstop in the majors. Sandy Alderson knows this.
- The Mets have the means necessary to acquire a legitimate two-way shortstop who profiles as a starter. Whether it’s via trade or free agency, the club has the wherewithal to do it.
- In 2015, the Mets are expected to contend for the first time on Sandy Alderson’s watch. The rebuild is almost complete, and to leave an enormous question mark at shortstop while filling in everything else would defy logic.
Wilmer Flores fits on the Mets as a second baseman or perhaps part of a first base platoon. However, he does not fit as a shortstop on a team that expects to contend. Sandy Alderson knows this, and logic and common sense dictates that he’ll address it.