So the Philadelphia Phillies waited until the closing hours of baseball’s annual winter meetings to finally make a roster move. Essentially, what they did was ship their No. 4 starter and one of the five best prospects in their Minor League system to Minnesota in exchange for an athletic outfielder with a low on-base percentage, absolutely no power whatsoever and incredible range defensively.
That’s not exactly the kind of move that has me putting aside money for the deposit on my postseason tickets.
The Phillies acquired center fielder Ben Revere and sent right-hander Vance Worley and pitching prospect Trevor May to the Twins. Revere is a three-year Major Leaguer who has made over 1,000 plate appearances, but has yet to hit his first career home run. His slugging percentage was a scant .342 in 2012, so he doesn’t even provide an extra-bases threat.
He did hit .294 last year and made starts at all three outfield positions, which is good news. Scouts love his ability to chase down fly balls and call him a dynamic base runner. But those positives are mitigated by the fact that he has a below-average throwing arm and does not do a great job getting on base.
Revere drew just 29 free passes in 553 plate appearances last season. To put that into perspective, Jimmy Rollins, the man everyone in these parts (myself included) loves to rag on for not getting on base enough, walked 62 times in fewer than 700 trips to the batter’s box in 2012.
And on top of it all, Revere is left-handed, which makes him like just about everyone else in the projected 2013 Phillies lineup.
Color me unimpressed.
The silver lining is that Revere is cheap. He will make about $500 thousand in 2013, and is under the Phillies control through 2017. He also has a reputation as a good locker room guy.
That only goes so far though. The Phillies need offensive production. They really need pop from the right-side of the plate. Obviously Revere cannot possibly provide that, but he may have the tools to develop into a more than serviceable leadoff hitter.
The initial feedback from the folks in Minnesota is that Revere has plenty of upside. Scouts all seem to like his strikezone awareness, but virtually everyone acknowledges he is a swinger. He goes to the plate looking for a pitch to hit, and when he gets it, he pulls the trigger.
Baseball America pointed out that his low walk-numbers were a little bit deceiving. He hit second in Minnesota, right behind Denard Span and directly in front of Joe Mauer in the Twins batting order. As a result, he saw a lot of strikes, which led to fewer opportunities to draw free passes.
That makes obvious sense and hopefully they are right about his potential. The Phillies need Revere to get on base so he can make things happen with his speed.
Only time will tell if he can do it, but even if he can, he’s still not the game-changer the Phillies require. Neither would be third baseman Michael Young, whom Philadelphia seems poised to acquire via trade from Texas.
Ruben Amaro, Jr. better have another move in his sights. Otherwise it might be another quiet year for the Citizen’s Bank Park scoreboard operator.