Late in the offseason, the Mets decided to take a shot on Tejada after Drew refused to sign, and Seattle and the D-Bags wanted Montero, Thor, and TdA/Plawecki for their sub-par or unproven SS prospects (Franklin, and DiDi).
The Met chose to stand pat, and thought they might have something in prospect Wilmer Flores, whose bat made him a top prospect, and had spent the winter at a fitness camp in Michigan to improve his athleticism...the same fitness camp Tejada attended.
After a solid spring traning, Flores was sent to Vegas to learn to play SS full time. There was also a guy named Wilfredo Tovar who is a great defender, with no bat.
Going further down the line, there was Matt Reynolds. An offense first SS drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft as compensation for losing Reyes (who Sandy screwed up by not trading or signing because we got "nothing in return.")
Tovar is hitting pretty well, and Reynolds is mashing. Cecchini is also coming along, but what of Flores? He got off to a horrible start in Vegas...yes, that Vegas, where everyone hits.
Almost a month ago on Metsblog, Cerrone posted this:
http://metsblog.com/metsblog/how-is-...where-is-drew/This past weekend, I talked with someone in baseball who has been watching Wilmer Flores play shortstop for Triple-A Las Vegas.
ďHe can make the routine play, his range is better than expected, but he needs to improve his awareness around the infield,Ē he told me.
For instance, if Flores gets a high chopper and a runner is advancing, the expert explained, he still shows a bit of panic or confusion on the play.
ďItís fine for now, but heíll need to be quicker than that in the big-leagues, especially at shortstop,Ē he concluded.
Flores is batting just .176 with no extra base hits and five strike outs in eight games.
There is no way to know this for fact, but my initial thought here is that Flores may be struggling to hit, while working hard and spending time learning shortstop. Or, itís just a rough start, bad luck, etc. It happens. In either case, though, itís never wise to bring a kid learning a new position to the big leagues in the middle of a slump, no matter how justified. Team insiders seemed to be indicating all March that Flores would get at least a month in Triple-A to get comfortable, keep learning and show what heís capable of doing for the Mets.
So here we are, 3 weeks later, and Flores has gone from hitting .176 with no extra base hits to hitting .290/.351/.460 with 4 HR and 19 RBI in 100 AB's. This is a bat that we need in our lineup, and hope that he can play SS adequately. If his defense is at least as good as what we've seen so far, he's an upgrade.
The time has come to replace our SS with Flores, move Tovar to AAA to see if he can produce (I know it's Vegas), and evaluate Reynolds at AA. Flores can be our SS today, while the team figures out who is the SS of the future until Cecchini is ready.
My guess is that the Mets will makea move at SS by May 15th.