Thursday, July 21, 2016

N.Y. Mets: Flores' Bat Keeps Talking, But Is Terry Collins Listening?

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Despite decreased playing time, 
Wilmer Flores still winning the day.

Home runs in each of his last two games, 
and a league leading seven home runs in July.

NEW YORK METSThere is no denying Jose Reyes can potentially help, although, that remains to be seen. In the meantime, Wilmer Flores continues banking results.

Let's just say Jose Reyes originally became available because both personally and professionally he's had difficulty being a thirty-something.

Suffice it to say the Rockies were eager to pay him countless millions of dollars to play baseball anywhere else but Denver ... and did just that.  They released him from the final three years of his contract - paid in full - making him eligible to become a free agent at the end of this season again.

The New York Mets in turn took a flyer on him (at the MLB minimum) during a time when injuries were still decimating their line-up, particularly to third baseman David Wright.

It was also thought he'd find a safe haven back in Flushing.  Sure enough, Reyes was able to return to the organization of his roots without major backlash.  In that sense, it's worked out fairly well for Jose so far.

But what about for the Mets, who after posting a pair of sub.500 records during May and June now own a precarious 9-7 record in July?

Well, the remaining physically abled Mets were performing like walking dead, ranked near the bottom in most N.L. categories, except the long ball.  Despite ranking #3 in the N.L. in homers, they only rank 11th in OBP, 12th in RBI and 13th in runs scored, so, what's the use?

Enter Jose Reyes, who now has 12 games under his belt since rejoining the team on July 5 with mixed results.  As of Tuesday afternoon's 6-2 loss in the rubber game at Chicago, Reyes is slashing .213/.269/.511, with three doubles, a triple, three home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored through his first 47 at-bats.  Meanwhile, the Mets have gone 5-7 since that time.

It was hoped Reyes he would bring an element of speed to a terribly static, station-to-station offense, not necessarily more slugging - and there's the rub.  Reyes has just two stolen bases so far, leaving David Wright, who only appeared in 37 games this season and last played on May 27, in the team lead along with Curtis Granderson with three stolen bases.

Along with Jose's low OBP, he's leaving much to be desired.  That compels me to question how long Terry Collins will remain loyal to the name and reputation attached to Jose Reyes, over that of the actual performer?

Reyes has played in all the Mets game since returning.  Wilmer Flores, meanwhile, was in fact solidifying himself at third base when the opportunity was taken away from him.  Undeterred, his performance continues screaming for more time.  Wilmer Flores was already performing well since taking over third base full time for David Wright, batting .315 from June 3 through July 4, the day prior to Reyes' arrival.  In the 12 games since, Flores has started just five games, and came off the bench in four games, leaving him idle in three others.  Yet, he batted .280 with a double, five home runs, and eight RBI.  In fact, he now leads the N.L. lead with seven home runs in July.

There's an argument to be made both for and against pulling the rug out from under Wilmer Flores for sake of inserting the likes of Jose Reyes at third base.  But now the club seems intent on moving forward with playing Jose Reyes in the outfield as well.  It's not like they didn't warn us.  Reports say he has indeed been working out for a debut in center field.

In truth, I fret the day!!

I'm a been there/done that kind of guy to begin with.  So trying to shoe-horn Jose Reyes into the Mets line-up is threatening to reveal itself as pure nonsense.  There's a stronger case to be made arguing Reyes doesn't fit, than in favor.  But despite their respective performances, only Wilmer Flores' naysayers seem to be arguing otherwise.  With regard to Jose Reyes, I'd counter with love is blind.

Become a better third baseman, hit more consistently and change the stationary dynamic of this offense, and I'll have no issue.  Who would?  Until then, Wilmer Flores has been the better performer.

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