While the two prospect-related moves I discussed this morning were likely from the start, this one I did not see coming.
I've argued this spring that the Mets should give Wilmer Flores a shot at shortstop, not because he's any good at the position, but because the Mets need to get him at-bats at the major league level to find out what he can do. At appears, at least for the start of the major league season, neither is going to happen. As Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports, the Mets have sent Flores to Triple-A, where he will continue to work as a shortstop.
When I made the argument that the Mets should be using Flores at shortstop this spring, it was as a short-term solution to the problem of getting him at-bats. Shortstop offered an opening for at-bats where there wasn't one at third, second or first base. It's generally believed (and having seen him in person I can attest to this), that Flores will not be able to play shortstop at the major league level, at least not with any kind of capability. The only justification for playing him there this year was to get him major league at-bats. Sending him down defeats this entire purpose.
I understand the action of sending Flores to Triple-A. If it doesn't look like there are regular at-bats for him in the majors, he needs to play regularly somewhere. But having him continue to play shortstop in the minors is strange. That's not going to be his long-term home. His long-term position is still undecided, but if he's in the minors preparing for his future, he should be preparing at one of the positions at which he will actually play and at which he still has little experience.
Perhaps the Mets are expecting Ruben Tejada to fail as their starting shortstop and want Flores to be ready to take over in a month or so. That's an acceptable plan, I guess, but if that's the case, why not just see what Flores can do now?
Playing Flores at shortstop in Triple-A seems like a futile task. He's not going to develop into a long-term solution at the position, and he's already proved he can hit at that level. If he's in Triple-A, it should be to improve defensively at a position he'll actually play. If he's going to be playing a position he's not good at, it should be in the majors where he'll get experience at the plate. Doing both seems counter-productive.