Flores all too familiar with nerves leading up to trade deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — Wilmer Flores has not had his name thrown into many trade rumors in recent weeks, but few around the game know the uncertainty of this time of year better than the veteran infielder.
Flores was a young New York Mets shortstop back in 2015 when his team came to a tentative agreement with the Milwaukee Brewers on a blockbuster that would have also sent Zach Wheeler to Milwaukee and brought Carlos Gomez to New York. The Mets ultimately backed out over medical concerns with Gomez, but not before word of the trade became public as Flores was playing a game at Citi Field.
The crowd gave him a standing ovation and the 23-year-old wiped tears from his eyes as he thought about what was happening. Seven years later, Flores can smile at the memory.
“I didn’t know much about the business part of the game. I thought you were supposed to be with just one team,” Flores said Monday night. “Back then I just didn’t know. I just didn’t know I could get traded or I was available.”
A lot has changed since then, not just for Flores but for the game. Social media moves so quickly now that it’s impossible to imagine another team repeating the Mets’ mistake and letting a player take the field as fans and teammates got the news on their phones.
But the nerves are there nonetheless, and the Giants left the park Monday night with a lot of uncertainty hanging in the air. An 8-2 loss to the Dodgers dropped them to 3-9 since the All-Star break — 0-5 against Los Angeles — and provided yet another stark reminder that two teams that fought so hard for the NL West title last season are currently heading in completely opposite directions.
The Giants are once again playing catchup, which is what makes Tuesday so meaningful. If Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris choose to sell, it will make perfect sense. The quickest way to inject some youth, athleticism and upside into their roster right now would be to dangle Carlos Rodón into a market that is lacking aces after Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas were dealt to the Mariners and Yankees, respectively.
There were no developments on the Rodón front Monday, but he is not the only player who could be gone by the 3 pm deadline if the Giants choose to mix things up. There has been increased chatter around Joc Pederson, and Flores — who hit his 16th homer in the loss — could help any contender.
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Seven years after a very public near-trade, Flores has kept his head down. He said he has learned to avoid rumors and focus on playing good baseball day to day, and he has been the Giants’ best and most consistent hitter this season.
If there is a flurry on Tuesday, Flores won’t worry about it until he’s contacted. His teammates are trying to do the same thing, but it isn’t easy. In a quiet clubhouse, heads were buried in phones as players tried to move past a disappointing showing at Oracle Park, one that ended with “Let’s Go Dodgers” chants from the large contingent of visiting fans wearing blue.
Flores knows what this time of year is like. It’s never easy, particularly when you play as poorly as the Giants have in the two weeks leading up to the deadline.
“The first time you get traded, you’re never ready,” he said.
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