Beloved former New York Mets utility player Wilmer Flores may find a new home with the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason. The team is rumored to have interest in signing Flores.
Flores spent his whole baseball career, as well as his whole teenage adolescence, in the Mets organization. The quirky and sincere right-hander was signed when he was just 16 years old out of Venezuela. He has spent all his six years in the Majors with the organization. Before that he spent six more years in the Mets minor league farm system.
On the 30th of November, Flores was non-tendered a contract for 2019. Flores is arbitration-eligible and is scheduled to become a free agent starting in 2020. This could change if he signs a multi-year deal this winter.
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Wilmer proved to be incredibly clutch while playing for the Mets as he had four career walk-off home runs (the most ever by any player in Mets history). Defensively he proved to be extremely versatile in that he was able to play each infield position effectively and on a moment’s notice.
Flores finished his career as a Met posting a .262 batting average with 68 home runs and 253 RBI. Whenever his team needed a big hit at the plate against opposing left-handed pitchers; he was the man the team looked to.
But what Wilmer will be known and admired most for in the hearts of the fans was when he became emotional on the field on that warm July evening in 2015. Late in a game against the San Diego Padres, Flores heard rumors that he was going to be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in a deal that would bring Carlos Gomez to Flushing.
While still on the field manning the shortstop position, tears were forming and streaming down the eyes of Wilmer’s flushed red cheeks. The loyalty and passion showed by the Venezuelan for his team through his emotions quickly catapulted him to the status of fan favorite.
Fortunately, the deal for Gomez fell through and Wilmer stayed a Met. A few days later he rewarded the team with a walk-off home run against the first place Nationals at that time.
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Whether or not Wilmer Flores actually ends up landing with the Rays, one thing will be certain; the colors of orange and blue will always be pumping through his veins.