Terry Collins insists shortstop will be wide open next spring, but what else can he say?
Even after Wilmer Flores homered twice and drove in six runs Tuesday night in a 9-1 rout of the Marlins, and has driven in 10 runs over the last four games, Collins is dancing the politically correct line.
He has to.
He can’t give the job to Flores outright, because it will hurt whatever trade value Ruben Tejada might have left. Plus, Flores hasn’t exactly done it all year. What if he regresses?
Flores always had a greater offensive potential than Tejada, with the latter having the better of it defensively. However, one of the biggest surprises this summer has been Flores’ play at shortstop. He doesn’t have great range – that can be made up by better positioning, which he’ll learn – but seems to make most of the plays.
My feeling is Flores would help win more games with his bat than Tejada will with his glove.
Collins has to blow a little smoke because that’s what managers do, but bet on Flores getting the job next year.