PHOENIX -- With a little more than three weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, it appears the D-backs are done constructing the position-player portion of their 2019 roster after officially announcing the signing of free-agent infielder Wilmer Flores to a one-year contract with a club option for
PHOENIX -- With a little more than three weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, it appears the D-backs are done constructing the position-player portion of their 2019 roster after officially announcing the signing of free-agent infielder Wilmer Flores to a one-year contract with a club option for 2020.
Flores is guaranteed $4.25 million in the deal, which includes a $3.75 million salary for 2019 and a $6 million team option for '20. Should Arizona not pick up the option, it would owe Flores a $500,000 buyout.
Flores, 27, has played at shortstop, second, third and first base during his six seasons with the Mets, but the D-backs see him as their primary second baseman, which will allow them to shift Ketel Marte to center field, where he would replace free agent A.J. Pollock.
"We feel like he's a quality player and from an offensive perspective [he] adds to our lineup," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. "He has a little bit of power, good contact ability, hits really good pitching. We just felt like he complemented our position-player group nicely."
After trading first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals in December, the D-backs knew they had to find a way to replace both him and Pollock, who is likely to sign elsewhere. Moving third baseman Jake Lamb to first base was an easy decision, given Eduardo Escobar's presence on the roster.
Finding a center fielder either on the free-agent or trade markets proved difficult, so the D-backs decided to shift Marte because there were more second-base options available.
Marte has played just two games for a total of 14 innings in center in the big leagues and logged nine games there while in the Minors, but he has taken fly balls out there and told manager Torey Lovullo last year that he would have no problem playing there.
Flores slashed .267/.319/.417 last season, numbers that are pretty much in line with his career figures. The D-backs like his ability to make contact and put the ball in play, which Hazen said would balance out the lineup a bit.
"I think one of the things we ran into a little bit is we were a little hit or miss with regard to [contact]," Hazen said. "We feel like his contact skills blended nicely with some of the other power options we have, and he obviously has some power, too."
Once he heard the D-backs were interested in him, Flores said he gave very little thought to signing somewhere else given the success he's had hitting at Chase Field, where he has a career slash line of .356/.396/.622 in 45 at-bats.
"Since Day 1, first and foremost, I always liked playing in Arizona," Flores said. "It's one of my favorite stadiums. When they've called me and I saw they were interested in me, I wanted to go there. I have [Arizona left fielder] David Peralta, I'm really close with him, and it seems like a really good club. When I heard they had interest, I had no question about going."
Nor does Flores have any doubt that he can handle playing second base despite advanced metrics not necessarily being kind to him.
Neither does Hazen, who said the scouting reports that he got on Flores were that he has good footwork around the bag when it comes to turning double plays.
The D-backs still have some payroll flexibility left as they continue to scour the free-agent market.
"I think we're probably pretty much done with the position group," Hazen said. "I think we're still focused probably on the bullpen."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.