In the last at bat of yesterday’s first game, Ben Revere fouled a ball off of his right foot. Revere finished the at-bat, the result: a game-ending double play. Revere was not in the line-up for game two – it turns out, Revere was trying to beat out the game-ending double play with a broken right foot. Ouch.
Talk radio hosts and national pundits have advised that Ryan Howard‘s injury was the red flag for the Phillies to sell. And yet, Darin Ruf, in 29 PA, has been more valuable to the Phillies (0.5 fWAR v. 0.4 fWAR) than the Big Piece has been all season. On the radio this morning, our Pat Gallen was on 97.5 FM talking to Matt Martucci about should the Phillies buy or sell. Gallen and Martucci agreed that Revere’s injury was big but both came very close but just short of saying Revere’s injury would be the reason to sell. I’m here to tell you that it may be just that.
In the last 30 days, Revere is fifth in the Majors and second in the NL in batting average (.380), was ninth in the Majors in batting for the month of June, and is second in the Majors among center fielders in batting average and twelfth in on-base percentage. Since May 1, Revere has hit .347/.380/.404 with 17 SB and has been the catalyst in the Phillies remaining near .500. Even though Revere has compiled just 1 WAR this season, his play since May 1 has been worth 1.5 wins, overcoming play in April that was worth -0.5 wins.
There are very few outfielders available on the trade market and the only outfielders available on the waiver wire are Travis Ishikawa (.260/.324/.398) and Cole Gillespie (.218/.277/.361) and neither are true center fielders. Tyson Gillies made an adjustment to his swing during a demotion to Double-A and has hit .300/.333/.425 in 42 PA since returning to Triple-A after his adjustment and may be the best candidate to replace Revere in center. In watching Gillies, Gillies makes many of the same mistakes that fans are critical of Revere for making: relies too much on speed to make up for sometimes suspect routes to balls to the outfield.
Gillies isn’t up for today’s afternoon game against the White Sox as the Phillies have activated Erik Kratz from the disabled list instead and the Phillies will likely go with John Mayberry Jr. until a decision is made. Would a Gillies call-up be the sign of the Phillies raising the white flag? This is a tough one: Gillies, at 24, is still relatively young but at the same time, when the Phillies acquired Gillies, FanGraphs anticipated having him in the Majors around 2012, so even with a series of unfortunate injuries, Gillies development isn’t too far off track to what was anticipated at the time. Letting Gillies play wouldn’t so much be a surrender as it would be trying to capture lightning in a bottle, perhaps. If the Phillies do call up Gillies, they must play him every day. One thing is for sure, though: Revere’s injury hurts and Gillies, nor anyone else who is available, can replace what Revere has brought to the Phillies. This one hurts.