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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Phillies trade for CF of the future

The Phillies traded for a new center fielder this week.  Ben Revere is 24 years old and over the last three seasons has compiled just over 1000 PA with the Minnesota Twins.  As part of the deal, the Phillies sent Vance Worley and Trevor May to the Twins.

When I first heard about this trade, I was a little confused.  First, I couldn't believe that the Phillies didn't try and overpay for a marquee CF, and someone that everyone in Philadelphia has heard of.  Then, I looked up his stats quickly on baseball-reference, and was quickly infuriated with his career .642 OPS (79 OPS+).  I couldn't believe (and still can't understand), why it took both Vance Worley and Trevor May to land this atrocious hitter.

Once I finally started thinking rationally, I was curious how he grades out defensively.  While he spent most of last season in corner outfield spots, Revere plays defense VERY well despite the fact that he has a weak arm.  He also runs the bases very well.  Your CF doesn't need to be a huge offensive asset, but someone does... more on that later.

So, the Phillies acquired a defensive/speed specialist who can't hit anything more than singles and doesn't walk.  The price they paid is Vance Worley, who has a career FIP/xFIP/SIERA under 4.00 with a K-rate around 20% and a BB-rate around 8%.  He's done fairly well for the Phillies since he's been here.  Also included in the deal was the Phillies top prospect (#69 according to Baseball America), Trevor May.  May, 23, has struck out batters at an alarming rate over his Minor League career.  Last year he only struck out 9 batters/9 IP, but over the 4 seasons prior, had K/9 rates around 12/9 IP.  That's insane.  However, he does walk players at a near JC Romero rate.

Everyone wants to talk about Ben Revere being a cheap, cost-controlled player for the next several years.  This is true, and I think that's great because it frees up money for other areas, but so are Worley and May.  I don't hate getting Ben Revere because one can only hope his offense will get better (it'll be tough for him to do worse), but I'm still baffled that the Phillies were willing to part with two young, cheap pitchers.  Maybe Worley is still injured.

That being said, I conditionally don't hate the trade.  The only way I find this trade acceptable as an off season move is if the Phillies add a good/great bat to compliment Revere.  The Phillies need a new 3B, or the hole could be filled in a corner OF spot if the Phillies so choose. I just hope the choice is NOT Michael Young.  Seemingly everyone in Philadelphia wants Michael Young, and I just don't see how the move makes sense.  He's 36 years old, undoubtedly on the decline of his career, and he's coming off an atrocious 2012.  Add to that the fact that he'll probably be acquired to fill the 3B hole, and it's just a nightmare.  While most of his career he was a pretty able hitter, he has never been great defensively, but for some reason was used to play ever INF position for extended periods of time (including SS!).  Over the last 10 seasons, his dWAR (bbref) has never been higher than +0.4 with the bulk of his seasons hovering around -2.0.  Last year he compiled a WAR of -2.4.

I get the feeling that the Phillies are going to trade for Young. While I don't want him on this team, I certainly hope that RAJ doesn't over pay with players in return and is able to have the Rangers cover most of his contract should the deal go through.

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