Infielder Wilmer Flores has new representation. Flores, 28, will now be repped by Cesar Suarez of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Flores’ change in representation will soon be reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database. Flores had previously been repped by the McNamara Baseball Group.
Suarez is a former player himself, though he never reached the majors after signing with the Yankees as a 16-year-old, per his bio on the BHS Council’s website. He hails from Flores’ native Venezuela, as do other notable Suarez clients such as Rougned Odor and Salvador Perez. Heyman did not mention any specific impetus behind Flores’ decision to make a change at this time.
Flores, 28, is coming off a one-and-done year in Arizona. The utility infielder made the most of his time in the desert. After signing a one-year, $4.25MM guaranteed deal with the Diamondbacks, he appeared in 89 games, slashing a robust .314/.361/.487, good for a career-best 120 wRC+. Flores also missed more than a month of playing time after a foot contusion in late May pushed him to the injured list. Arizona declined a $6MM player option, making him a free agent for a $500K buyout instead.
When he was on the field, Flores performed. If you’re looking to poke holes in Flores’ 2019 output, a .332 BABIP is a good place to start, but Flores has long been a strong offensive contributor, so it’s not totally a smoke show. Still, career norms of a .268 BA and .277 BABIP point to some regression. Statcast credits Flores’ 2019 with a .329 xwOBA (league average is .318 xwOBA).
As for his new agent, there’s no immediate contractual work pending after Flores signed a two-year deal with the Giants this offseason. He made back the $6MM he was in line for in Arizona, only it’s spread out across two seasons. Flores will make $3MM in each of 2020 and 2021, while the Giants hold a $3.5MM option for 2022. If Flores can flourish in San Francisco, he should have the opportunity to net another major league contract either before his age-30 or age-31 season.
The Giants haven’t been all that active in free agency recently, so their signing of Flores was notable, especially since there’s not an obvious place to put the contact-oriented infielder. Veterans like Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt are entrenched around the infield on big-money deals that run concurrently to Flores’. There should be at-bats for Flores at second base, but he’s not alone there either, as Mauricio Dubon offers the Giants a higher ceiling with more team control as a pre-arb player, and Donovan Solano is coming off a mini-breakout of his own (.330/.360/.456 in 81 games last year). The presence of local hero Pablo Sandoval also muddies the waters for Flores – if Kung Pu Panda ends up making the team.
The potential for a Universal DH should give Flores some hope for grabbing a few extra PAs, but the Giants are actually pretty set on that front after bringing back the hugely popular Hunter Pence. Fans will be happy to see Pence’s name back on the lineup card, but even from a baseball standpoint, Pence is coming off a year when he unexpectedly put together an All-Star campaign at age-36. Pence finished the year hitting .297/.358/.552 with 18 home runs in 83 games as the Rangers’ DH. Like Flores, Pence also missed a fair amount of time due to injury. Given the ages of Longoria (34), Pence (37), Crawford (33), Belt (32), Sandoval (33) and even Solano (32), Flores is actually one of the young guys in the infield mix, despite his status as a 7-year MLB veteran. It’s not obvious where his playing time will come from, but there are many paths that lead to Flores seeing time as a regular infielder.