Move to second on the table for Flores
Shortstop could move once Murphy returns to third base
MILWAUKEE -- In what manager Terry Collins insisted is not "a major shakeup," the Mets are discussing moving Wilmer Flores from shortstop to second base when Daniel Murphy returns from the disabled list -- likely this weekend. The swap would remove Flores from a position where he has committed 10 errors in 66 games, his -5 Defensive Runs Saved ranking second-to-last among National League shortstops.
"We've talked about it in the past," Collins said before his club ended a seven-game losing streak with Thursday's 2-0 victory. "We decided that wasn't the proper time. It's one of those things where the closer Dan gets, it's going to be in the discussion."
That could be imminently. Murphy is scheduled to play seven innings at third base Thursday for Class A St. Lucie, keeping him on track to return this weekend from a strained left quad.
Under the new alignment, Murphy would play third base, Flores would man second and Ruben Tejada -- or, perhaps ultimately, prospect Matt Reynolds -- would start at short. That would theoretically give the Mets a stronger defensive lineup than the one they employed earlier this season, at times using as many as three infielders at unnatural positions.
Though Flores played mostly shortstop in the Minor Leagues, much of his upper-level experience came at second base. His .973 career fielding percentage at that position in the Minors is superior to his marks at either shortstop or third.
"He can play second base," Collins said. "We've seen it. He's very good around the bag. He played it for a long time in the Minor Leagues. He played it very well last September. He's good over there."
The Mets have also grown frustrated with some of Flores' other recent misplays at shortstop, including slow double-play turns and a game-changing infield hit this weekend in Atlanta, which was not ruled an error. In the past, they were hesitant to move him only because they did not want to shatter his psyche -- particularly given the now-unfounded hope that David Wright would return from the DL sooner rather than later, leaving shortstop as Flores' only real long-term option.
But there is still no timetable for Wright's return, forcing the Mets to rethink an experiment that has lasted the better part of two seasons.