Wilmer Flores was handed the job of being the every day shortstop this offseason by GM Sandy Alderson. Alderson wanted the 23-year-old infielder to succeed and be the answer for the Mets at shortstop, continuously expressing confidence in him despite early-season defensive struggles.
While the impetus for the Flores experiment at shortstop may have been defensible—offensive upside at the expense of poor defensive range—it is certainly questionable why the Mets waited so long to move Tejada back to shortstop instead of playing him at third base for 19 games, a position he had never played in his big league career. Flores's limited range plays much better at second or third base than at shortstop, where he made 10 errors this season. The return of Daniel Murphy, the current Mets third baseman, allowed Terry Collins to switch to the infield alignment which the Mets' manager says gives them the best infield.
Collins was becoming concerned that all of the errors Flores made at shortstop were affecting him mentally. Moving him to second base was a wise decision, and it has paid off so far. Some wondered how Flores would handle the position change—could he avoid seeing it as a demotion or a failure?—but he has handled the adjustment well. Not only has he played a solid second base defensively, but over the last few games he has had three consecutive three-hit games, including one four-hit game (a career high) with three RBI.
He won't keep up that pace, but maybe with a bit less pressure on his defense—plus a capable defender in Tejada playing to his right—Flores can settle in and become a useful major league player at second.