Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Infielder Wilmer Flores

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Wilmer Flores #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks smiles as he runs the bases after his fifth inning home run against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Wilmer Flores #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks smiles as he runs the bases after his fifth inning home run against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Could veteran infielder Wilmer Flores be a fit for the Pittsburgh Pirates in free agency?

Outside of catcher Luke Maile, who still has minor league option remaining and could spend time at the Triple-A level in 2020, new Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington has yet to make a Major League free agent signing as GM of the Pirates. One player, however, who should be worth consideration for his first big MLB free agent signing is infielder Wilmer Flores.

A long time member of the New York Mets, Flores spent the 2019 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Flores went on to have a career year with the D-Backs, slashing .317/.367/.487 and a 120 wRC+. Other than his slugging percentage (career high .488) these were all career highs for Flores.

Flores can play third base, second base and first base. In an absolute must, he could also play shortstop. However, he is best served playing the other three infield spots.

Obviously, Josh Bell has first base locked down for the Pirates and Kevin Newman will play one of the middle infield spots. Between Adam Frazier, if he is not traded, and Cole Tucker the other middle infield spot is locked down. So, Flores’ role with the Pirates would be in a bench/utility role.

Flores could serve in a platoon role with third baseman Colin Moran, at least until Ke’Bryan Hayes is ready. He could also back up Bell at first base. A big reason for this is Flores’ ability to hit left-handed pitching.

In his career Flores has slashed .337/.367/.615 with a 151 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. This production against lefties would be a huge upgrade over Moran who has slashed .273/.282/.403 in his career against lefties. Flores has also been better against LHPs in his career than Bell (.224/.313/.448, 94 wRC+) has been, just adding to the Pirates options with him.

Flores is also capable of playing either position on an every day basis if need be. This would give the Pirates good insurance in the case of injury at either position, or if Moran struggles at third base and loses reps.

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Cherington and the Pirates should pursue infielder Wilmer Flores in free agency. He would give the Pirates a strong bench bat, while also being a great platoon option for third base. Flores could also be a strong back up at first base.

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