By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
After missing out on free agents B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan and apparently not wanting to pay exorbitant sums of money for Michael Bourn (via agent Scott Boros) or Josh Hamilton, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired the Minnesota Twins rising young centerfielder Ben Revere in exchange for pitchers Vance Worley and Double-A prospect Trevor May.
At baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. probably saved the organization a few bucks by getting a young and up and coming player in Revere, who put up some decent numbers in 2012.
Last season, the 24-year-old Revere, a left-handed hitter, played in 124 games, batted .294 and had a .333 on-base percentage. He batted .314 against left-handed pitching. He stole 40 bases, which ranked him third in the American League. Revere had 150 hits and scored 70 runs. He is a career .278 hitter with 72 stolen bases and 64 RBI with zero home runs during his time in Minnesota.
What the Phillies like about him is his speed on the base paths and in the outfield. He has play mostly in centerfield (126 starts), but has also played in left and right field. You could argue that he’s a younger version of Juan Pierre. Amaro told Phillies.com that he’s more like a younger version of Bourn.
“I think he’s a similar type of player,” Amaro Jr. said. “He doesn’t have much power. He’s much more of a singles hitter. He’s not going to drive the ball consistently. But the defense and speed were important to us, particularly at that position.”
When the Twins traded Dennard Span to the Washington Nationals last week, Revere was next in line to be the Twins next leadoff hitter. But the question that those who follow the Twins had was whether he could hit on a consistent basis in the leadoff role? That’s something the Phillies would like to know as well.
Last season, the left-handed hitting Revere batted from the leadoff spot 158 times and 372 times from the No. 2 hole. The Phillies incumbent leadoff man shortstop Jimmy Rollins batted .250 in 2012 and had a .316 on-base percentage.
But J-Roll hit 23 home runs and drove in 68 runs and has always provided a spark from the leadoff position. Would he be willing to be the No. 2 hitter in the lineup? Smart money says no. Stay tuned.
The knock on the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Revere from those who have seen him on a regular basis say that he is not the hardest hitter in the world. According to the website, TwinsDaily.com, Revere can hit to all fields but opposing outfielders have been able to move in to take away those short bloop hits to the outfield.
If that’s the case, Revere could be in the eight spot in the lineup, but we’ll see.
Along with not spending a whole of money for Revere, who made $492 500 in 2012, Amaro likes the youngster’s upside both offensively and defensively.
“Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable centerfielder who fits in nicely with our club,” Amaro said in a statement released by the team on Thursday.
Various media reports are saying the Phillies are close to a trade for Texas Rangers third baseman Michael Young, who’s in the final year of his contract and has the right to approve or disapprove any trade. Last year, the 36-year-old Young hit .277 with eight homeruns and a .682 on-base plus slugging percentage (ops).
Those numbers are down from 2011 when he batted .338 with 11 home runs and 106 RBI and an .854 ops percentage. ESPN’s Baseball Tonight is reporting that Young is the odd-man out in Texas at third base and first base because of Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. He would basically be a backup with limited at-bats, but he supposedly likes being in the Rangers clubhouse and may not want to be traded.
Meanwhile, the departure of popular fan favorite Worley means the Phillies are now in the market for a fifth starter. Worley was 6-9 with a 4.20 earned run average last season after going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA. Before having elbow surgery in September, Worley had a 5.80 ERA in his last 11 starts.
The Phillies will more than likely have to replace Worley via the trade route. They do return Kyle Kendrick who pitched well late in the season and finished 11-12 with a 3.90 ERA. Kendrick was 9-4 with a 2.87 ERA after the All-Star break in 2012.