The question on every Phillies fans mind going into the 2012 offseason was: Who would play center field? That question was answered on December 6, 2012. The first tweets started rolling in around noon stating the Phillies got their man. Vance Worley and top prospect Trevor May were dealt to the Minnesota Twins for 24-year-old Ben Revere.
Most Phillies fans were upset. Worley, in his short time in Philly, had become a fan favorite. The “Vanimal,” with the Rec Specs and wild hair, was traded for a player who had never hit a home run and never scored 100 runs. To make matters worse, national writers were weighing in on the trade and awarding an early victory to the Twins.
Early verdict: Twins got monster return for Ben Revere. Executive sees Trevor May as at least No. 3 starter, Worley as solid back-end guy.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2012
Most fans argued all winter over who the Phillies should get, and chances are that the name Ben Revere never came up in those conversations. It was either going to be former Phillie draft pick Michael Bourn, or Tampa Bays’ BJ Upton. Upton even came to Philly for a visit, and was being courted by shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Both Upton and Bourn would have cost the Phillies their first round draft pick, a pick they used to select JP Crawford 16th overall in last June’s draft.
It has been over a year now, and as Ian Riccaboni pointed out in our Writers Roundtable, we have a clear winner in the trade.
In his first season with the Twins, Vance Worley went from Opening Day starter to being sent down to AAA Rochester. Worley, who dealt with shoulder problems in his last season with the Phillies, struggled mightily in the AL posting a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts. Out of options, he was outrighted off the 40 man roster and traded to Pittsburgh on Tuesday for cash considerations.
Prospect Trevor May didn’t make the sting of Worley’s bad season any easier on Twins fans. After posting a 4.87 ERA in AA Reading, he returned to the Eastern League with the New Britain Rock Cats. May struggled again in AA posting a 4.51 ERA. For the second straight year, however, he did post over a strikeout-per-inning. Some may argue that May projects better as a reliever rather than a starting pitcher.
At first it looked like the Phillies had acquired a dud. Revere struggled early in his Phillies career, hitting rock bottom on May 4th with a paltry average of .204. Slowly though, Revere started putting together multi-hit games, and was able to raise his average to .305 before breaking his foot on July 13th, an injury which ended his season.
The Ben Revere trade was possibly the most un-Ruben Amaro like move in his tenure. Amaro has never been one to shy away from a big signing, and doesn’t seem to mind giving up draft picks to do so. In 2008, he gave up the team’s first round pick to sign Raul Ibanez. In 2010, he gave up the team’s first round pick to sign Cliff Lee. And in 2011, it was the signing of Jonathan Papelbon that cost the Phillies their first round pick. After a season which saw the team fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006, many assumed that Amaro would forfeit the team’s first round pick and sign either Bourn or Upton. Instead, he went with the low key, smart, long term move.
Bourn ended up signing a four-year deal for $48 million with the Indians. His 2013 salary was $7 million, and it was $7 million poorly spent. Bourn’s slash line in 2013 was .263/.316/.360. His 2014 salary will jump to $13.5 million, and he is scheduled to begin the season on the DL.
Phillies fans should be thanking BJ Upton every day for not signing with the Phillies, as he had the worst year of his nine-year career. After signing a 5 year $75.25 million dollar deal, he posted a slash line of .184/.268/.289. His 2013 salary of $12.45 million brought the Braves just 9 homeruns and a mere 26 RBIs. His salary will jump to $13.45 million this season.
Ben Revere, on the other hand, made slightly less than BJ Upton and Michael Bourn. Revere was paid $515,000 for the 2013 season. His slash line was .305/.338/.352. So lets compare that side by side.
BJ Upton: $12.45 million for 391 AB, 30 R, 14 2B, 0 3B, 9 HR, 26 RBI, 12 SB, .184/.268/.289 slash line.
Michael Bourn: $7 million for 525 AB, 75 R, 21 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 50 RBI, 23 SB, .263/.316/.360 slash line.
Ben Revere: $515,000 for 315 AB, 37 R, 9 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 22 SB, .305/.338/.352 slash line.
Obviously, you could argue that Bourn had the best year out of all three, even with a .263 average. However, the Phillies got a .305 hitter who, before his injury, was on pace for 630 at bats, 74 R, 18 2B, 6 3B, and 44 SB. But if you want to be fair, and compare Revere’s on pace production to 525 at bats (Michael Bourns’ number for 2013), your looking at 62 runs scored, 15 2B, 5 3B, and 37 SB. That’s pretty solid production considering Revere made $6.485 million less than Bourn.
I am extremely critical of the job that Ruben Amaro Jr has done during his tenure as Phillies GM, but I cannot praise him enough for the Ben Revere trade. Amaro got a starting centerfielder who is under team control until 2018 for a pitcher who the team sold high, at the right time, and a prospect who has a mid 4 ERA for the second straight year in AA. Revere’s salary will jump up to $1.95 million for 2014. That is $11.55 million less than Michael Bourn will make, and $11.5 million less than BJ Upton. Revere might not have been the sexy name that Phillies fans wanted during the 2012 offseason, but looking at the big picture, it was one of the smartest moves Amaro has made during his tenure as Phillies GM.