Welcome to One Last Move, where our writers pitch a move to the Mets that would close out their offseason and make the team better in 2020.
The Mets’ bench appears to be a bit thin heading into the 2020 season. If Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie are healthy to start the season, the team obviously gets deeper, but what can reasonably be expected from two players who missed significant time last year?
Excluding them, the bench could consist of a combination of Dominic Smith, Matt Adams, Luis Guillorme, and Jake Marisnick. Without Cespedes, J.D. Davis is the everyday left fielder, which leaves both an offensively-challenged and a predominately left-handed bench.
One current free agent who could help in that regard is Wilmer Flores. He quietly had a good season out in the desert last year, hitting .317/.361/.487 in 265 at-bats. He memorably hit a home run off Jacob deGrom in September, which ended up being the last run the 2019 Cy Young winner would give up for the season.
As a right-handed bat, Flores has always done well against lefties. Last season he hit .337/.367/.615 in 104 at-bats against them, and seven of his nine home runs came against southpaws. For his career, he’s hit .276/.318/.494 against lefties, and his career OPS jumps a full one hundred points against left-handed pitchers.
Flores’s right-handed bat would be a nice complement to the others currently making up the rest of the bench. Unfortunately, as Mets fans are well aware, Flores is very limited defensively and does not offer much versatility in the infield. He is probably best suited for first base, which could pose a problem since both he and Pete Alonso are righties and either Dominic Smith or Matt Adams can give Alonso a day off during the season.
Still, from a purely selfish point-of-view, it would be nice to have Flores back on the team. Never was there more of a buzz in the crowd than when he came up to bat and a walk-off was there for the taking. He exuded pure joy and enthusiasm for the game, and it was a genuine pleasure to root for him and near impossible to root against him. If the Mets are looking to deepen their bench, they could do a lot worse than bringing back an old friend.