Flores agrees to multi-year contract
After 15 months as the president of baseball operations with the San Francisco Giants, Farhan Zaidi has given out his first multiyear contract.
According to a report from ESPN, the Giants are in agreement on a contract with versatile infielder Wilmer Flores for a contract that will last beyond the 2020 season.
At this point, the specifics of the deal remain unclear, but it’s clear the Giants targeted Flores for his ability to play all over the infield and hit left-handed pitching.
Flores, 28, spent the first six seasons of his major league career with the Mets before tormenting the Giants as a member of the Diamondbacks last year. Flores hit a career-high .317 with a .848 OPS in 89 games and was at his best against lefties.
In 109 plate appearances
against southpaws last year, Flores hit .337 with a .982 OPS.
Flores has played between 135 and 158 games at all four positions in the infield in his career, but he spent most of his time at second base last season. As a member of the Giants, Flores will likely receive most of his opportunities on the right side of the infield as he could form a platoon with first baseman Brandon Belt.
Flores’ best career games have come against the Giants as the eighth-year veteran has hit .387 with a 1.078 OPS in 37 games. The Venezuela native has also proven he can hit at Oracle Park as he has a career .349 average (15-for-43) with a .512 slugging percentage in San Francisco.
The acquisition will create an interesting dynamic in the Giants infield as manager Gabe Kapler now has newfound flexibility and a variety of ways to structure his lineup. Depending on who the team designates for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Flores, San Francisco will have at least seven and possibly eight infielders on the roster entering spring training.
That group features versatile players such as Mauricio Dubón and Donovan Solano, but it does not include minor league free agents such as Pablo Sandoval, Yolmer Sánchez, and Darin Ruf who all received formal invitations to major league spring training. It also doesn’t include catchers Buster Posey and Aramis Garcia and utility player Austin Slater, who all have experience at first base, which is the position Flores appears to fit best.
It’s unlikely Sandoval will be healthy enough to make the Opening Day roster after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September, but the Giants expect to have healthy competition in the infield this spring and could explore the idea of creating regular platoons at multiple positions.
With Flores in the fold, Kapler can now field an all right-handed-hitting infield with Flores at first, Dubón and Solano up the middle and Evan Longoria at third. If Sánchez or lefthanded-hitting waiver wire acquisition Kean Wong makes the Opening Day roster, the Giants can also go heavy with lefties in the infield as Brandon Belt can play. First, Sánchez or Wong can play second, and Crawford can play short.
The Giants also expect to have Dubón work in center field this spring, and Dubón has already posted a short video to social media of his outfield work this offseason.
The addition of Flores, who posted a career-best 0.8 WAR last season, isn’t going to transform the Giants’ offense dramatically, but it will give the team a chance to find more favorable matchups on a daily basis.
Wilmer Flores, center, was targeted by the Giants for his ability to play all over the infield and hit left-handed pitching.