Ben Revere didn't cost general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. much in realized major league worth. But, why did the Philadelphia Phillies obtain this particular outfielder who clearly shouldn't be a starter in the major leagues?
Of course we know that baseball is a business. Yet, teams that win (and do so consistently) find a way to weave thrift into their major league rosters without jeopardizing their overall chances of competing.
The Phillies officially began their unannounced roster rebuild on one specific day in the summer of 2012. On July 31, center fielder Shane Victorino was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers and right fielder Hunter Pence was dealt to the San Francisco Giants.
The 'Flyin' Hawaiian's' departure created a hole in the middle of the outfield. Amaro chose to fill that wide gap in the off-season, by dealing Vance Worley and then-top pitching prospect Trevor May to the Minnesota Twins for Revere.
Worley had 10 rough starts for the Twins last season, was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates in March and began this season with the Pirates Triple-A team in Indianapolis. May pitched decently in Double-A last year and is currently occupying a starting Triple-A spot for the Twins in Rochester.
While Revere showed increasing offensive promise during his first three major league seasons (2010-2012), his defensive liabilities were plain for all to see. Yet, Amaro obtained the pint-sized player with the intention of having him become the Phillies' starting center fielder in 2013.
A broken right foot stopped Revere's season last July. While some of his numbers were okay (.338 on base percentage, .305 batting average), his defensive game didn't evolve and it's not likely to either.
Make no mistake, Revere appears to be a positive clubhouse presence, is a decent offensive player who also runs the bases well and is a base stealing threat. But, he doesn't cover nearly enough ground to play in center and is unable to throw runners out. He might be able to handle a platoon left field slot, become a platoon designated hitter in the American League, or find work on some team's bench.
Amaro obtained Revere because of his sub-million dollar salary last season and modest pay rate this year ($1.95 million). He's arbitration eligible at the end of the season, which means he was certainly acquired as a stop-gap outfield measure.
The Phillies knew that they had already entered into a period of transition, didn't publicly announce that obvious fact and are now clearly an average team that has a slim chance of making the playoffs this season and possibly next season as well.
Every baseball team goes through cycles in its history. Philadelphia is currently in non-contention mode and is trying to determine how to rebuild. So, it will be interesting to see if Amaro retains Revere past this season. If he does, then fans should know what to expect before next season arrives.