Could Wilmer Flores be an option for the Chicago Cubs at First Base?
With the 2022 MLB season in the rearview mirror, one of the clear holes that emerged on the roster was first base. The revolving door that was Frank Schwindel, Alfonso Rivas and PJ Higgins provided little value offensively, and with Jed Hoyer proclaiming the need to “aggressively fill” the gaps in the team this offseason, first base is likely to be in top of the list. The Chicago Cubs have previously been linked to Anthony Rizzo and Jose Abreu.
But who could the team turn to if they failed to land one of the big free agents? The answer might come in-house with Matt Mervis, but maybe another San Francisco Giants utility veteran, Wilmer Flores, could woo Chicago.
Flores is expected to enter free agency after three seasons in the Bay Area. The 31-year-old can play in multiple positions but his best is the first goal. Flores has recorded just over 300 innings at first base in 2022, registering no defensive runs on record and one over par, both of which are his best marks in any position and make him a defenceman. league average.
The right-hander is also a perennially average to above-average batsman, finishing with a wRC+ of 100 or better in his previous seven seasons, four of which have topped the 110 mark. The Venezuela native is a pesky hitter for pitches opposing, hitting in just 13.7% of his career plate appearances. The former international free agent has also appeared in more than 9% of his plate appearances.
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While he won’t wow anyone with his raw power, Flores has a decent amount of pop, consistently hitting the upper teens in the circuits and also finishing with an ISO in the .150-.200 range.
A solid offensive player with an average defense at first base, Flores wouldn’t be the flashiest signing by far. But the 31-year-old isn’t going to break the bank or stop the Cubs from going after high-end free agents this winter. The right-hander could be a good interim option for Chicago in 2023 and would provide a stable presence both on the field and in the lineup.
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