PHOENIX — Wilmer Flores endeared himself to New York Mets fans when he got emotional during a game in 2015 after believing media reports he had been traded.
About 3 1/2 years later, a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks suits him just fine.
Flores and the Diamondbacks finalized a one-year contract on Monday, guaranteeing the infielder $4.25 million. He gets a $3.75 million salary this year as part of the deal, which includes a $6 million team option for 2020 with a $500,000 buyout.
"I’ve always liked playing in Arizona. It’s one of my favourite stadiums," said Flores, who is close friends with Diamondbacks outfield David Peralta. "When we they called and had interest in me, I wanted to go there."
Flores became a free agent last month when the Mets didn’t offer a 2019 contract.
A versatile 27-year-old, Flores hit .267 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs last year, playing first, second and third base. He made $3.4 million.
Flores is a career .262 hitter with 68 homers and 253 RBIs in parts of six seasons, all with the Mets.
Flores can earn an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses in 2019 based on plate appearances: $25,000 for 400, $50,000 each for 450, 500 and 550, and $75.000 for 600.
Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen said Flores will play primarily at second base, but he could see some time at third and first. Flores playing second base regularly likely would mean Ketel Marte will move to centre field after appearing in 131 games at second last season.
"We feel like he’s a quality player and from an offensive perspective, adds to our lineup," Hazen said. "Has a little bit of power, good contact ability, hits really good pitching. We just felt like he complemented our position player group nicely."
Flores became a Mets fan favourite when he got emotional during a game against San Diego on July 29, 2015, thinking he had been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. The proposed swap for Carlos Gomez fell through, and two days later Flores hit a game-ending 12th-inning homer to beat Washington.
To clear a roster spot, Arizona left-hander Jared Miller was designated for assignment.