Ben Revere Rumors

Cafardo’s Latest: Morales, D’Backs, Kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column

  • Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger.  It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
  • The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes.  Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy.  “We’re meeting on it.  Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
  • The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded.  Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
  • The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL.  With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job.  Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
  • Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
  • Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston.  “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo.  “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.”  This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
  • While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder.  Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
  • The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available.  Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
  • Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing.  “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
  • The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.

Phillies Notes: Pettibone, Gonzalez, Pen, Prospects, Revere

The Phillies currently sit at four games under .500. While that leaves them just 4.5 games back in the NL East heading into the day’s action, the team is carrying a -34 run differential (third-worst in baseball) and falls among the bottom five clubs in the game in hitting, pitching, and defense by measure of fWAR. Here are a few notes out of Philadelphia:

  • The club received some bad news on the injury front today. Righty Jonathan Pettibone, who was expected to be an important part of the rotation mix this year and in the future, has been placed on the minor league DL and will visit Dr. James Andrews to explore the possibility of surgery on his ailing right shoulder, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. After entering 2013 rated fourth by Baseball America among the organization’s prospects, Pettibone delivered 18 solid starts of 4.04 ERA ball. But he was shut down with shoulder troubles, and managed only two MLB starts this year (allowing nine earned in just nine innings).
  • In more positive news, international free agent signee Miguel Gonzalez has begun working through the low minors and is throwing in the low-to-mid 90s. “His control was a little off, but it sounds like he’s healthy,” said manager Ryne Sandberg. “He must be healthy if he’s throwing that hard. Now it’s just about getting his games in.”
  • The Phillies’ bullpen was an area that many thought could have used additional help, and the club has paid the price for failing to make any moves. Zolecki writes that the club’s talent evaluators believed they had the necessary pieces in place. “Looking back doesn’t do us all that much good,” said Amaro. “What we have to do is find either internal solutions to improve or just hope that the guys start to do their thing.”
  • One tantalizing option for relief help — young fireballer Ken Giles — will not be aggressively promoted, Amaro said, while also indicating that the same holds true for top prospect Maikel Franco. “We’re not going to force them because some other guys aren’t performing,” said Amaro. “They can’t be saviors for us. They might be able to help us at some point, but when they’re ready, when they have forced our hand to do it, they’ll come.”
  • The cost to acquire center fielder Ben Revere still looks low in retrospect, argues Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com, with Vance Worley falling apart and Trevor May still not quite matching results to his talent for the Twins. (I would push back somewhat on the characterization of May, who is a fairly valuable asset that could have been an important piece this year in Philly. Baseball America ranked him 8th in a deep group of Minnesota prospects, and he has 10.5 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 in his first seven starts at the Triple-A level.) But while the deal seems okay in terms of value, says Seidman, that does not mean that it delivered a starter to Philadelphia. With middling defense, non-existent power, and lagging on-base numbers, Seidman argues that Revere is entering his prime years playing like a late-career Juan Pierre. Needless to say, the club would face yet more questions if Revere is not the answer in center for the next several years.
  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that some of the club’s difficulties to start the year can be attributed to “part of the growing pains you have with young players,” Revere among them, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Though that comment strikes an unmistakably ironic chord for the veteran-laden Phils, Zolecki points out that the team’s aging, big-dollar stars are actually playing quite well on the whole, while its younger assets are scuffling. That is indeed the case — as the team’s fWAR hitter and pitcher leaderboards show, the team has thus far received a positive net contribution from just one player who has yet to turn 30 (Jake Diekman). It appears that the warning in my review of the Phillies’ offseason could be coming to pass; as I wrote then, even if the team gets production from all of its elder statesmen, the rest of the roster may not be good enough to support a legitimate post-season run. It is not as if injuries are to blame. With Darin Ruf returning from injury, there is little argument that the Philles are at “full strength” in terms of available personnel, notes Justin Klugh of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Phillies Avoid Arbitration With Ben Revere

The Phillies have avoided arbitration with center fielder Ben Revere, agreeing to a one-year, $1.95MM deal, the club announced. MLBTR's Zach Links reports (via Twitter) that Revere can earn bonuses for awards such as an All-Star selection or Gold Glove, among others.

The deal delivers the 25-year-old a cool $450K more than was projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz — a 30% bump over Swartz's $1.5MM projection. The higher mark also sets a nice baseline for Revere to work from. He will pass through arbitration three more times before qualifying for free agency in 2018. (Revere was a Super Two this year.)

Revere saw his 2013 season shortened when he broke his foot on a foul ball. Before the injury, he had a .305/.338/.352 line in 336 plate appearances. Promisingly, however, Revere had improved his OPS in each successive month of the season to that point (.456 in April; .712 in May; .805 in June; and .857 in July until the injury). Revere had also notched 22 stolen bases in that partial season of work. He has still yet to hit a big league home run after exactly 1,400 trips to the MLB plate.

Revere caps the Phillies' arbitration spending for the year. As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, the Phils paid out a total of $14.113MM, exceeding their total team projection of $12.7MM. The other Phillies to avoid arbitration were Kyle Kendrick ($7.675MM), Antonio Bastardo ($2MM), John Mayberry ($1.587MM), and Kevin Frandsen ($900K).



Phillies Looking For A Center Fielder

Phillies center fielder Ben Revere told reporters, including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, he will miss six-to-eight weeks after breaking a bone in his right ankle in the first game of yesterday's doubleheader against the White Sox. Revere is scheduled to visit a foot specialist tomorrow. 

"The prognosis doesn't sound too good," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters, including Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We'll see how long it's going to be. I think it's something that's going to take a while. If that's the case, we'll probably be looking for a center fielder if one is available or will be an upgrade on what we have with John (Mayberry) out there."

MLBTR's Steve Adams examined the trade market for center fielders recently and the cupboard is somewhat bare, which is why the Phillies could be looking in-house for a replacement. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez started to see some action in center field last week and has been assigned to Double-A to accelerate his learning curve.

"He'll play center field every day for the next 10 days or so," Amaro said. "We're going to get him extensive work down there. But he'll be playing exclusively in center field to see if that's an option for us. He struggled (Saturday), but it's a new position for him. We'll give him a shot."

Brookover notes Hernandez is an interesting option to replace Revere because the two have similar games based on their ability to run. In a brief stint with the Phillies while Chase Utley was on the disabled list earlier this season, Hernandez hit .250 (7-for-28) with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Zolecki meanwhile reports shortstop Freddy Galvis is not an option to replace Revere.

Revere's injury is the second blow to the Phillies' offense in the last week. Ryan Howard underwent knee surgery last Monday and is also set to miss the next six-to-eight weeks. Revere is hitting .347 since the end of April, which is the sixth-best mark in baseball in that span and his .380 on-base percentage is 19th out of 164 qualifying hitters.


Rob Antony Talks Twins’ Offseason, Future

For the fourth straight year, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony sat down with Jesse Lund of SB Nation's Twinkie Town to discuss the state of affairs with his team. Antony and Lund discussed the Twins' offseason at length, ranging from the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere to the Twins' pursuit of starting pitching. Here's a look at some of the highlights, but bear in mind that entire piece is well worth your time…

  • The Twins never intended to trade both Revere and Span, but the Phillies' offer of Trevor May and Vance Worley was too strong not to pull the trigger. Antony identifies May as someone who could get a September call-up in 2013 if he enjoys a strong season.
  • The Twins had conversations with both Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, but were unable to agree to terms with either one. In particular, the Twins sought a club option for Baker, who wanted strictly a one-year deal. Antony said they didn't want 2013 to "be a donation" to Baker in the event that he wasn't healthy and effective for most of the season. That decision looks wise, with Baker on the 60-day disabled list for the Cubs.
  • Mike Pelfrey identified the Twins as a team he wanted to pitch for and was aggressive in working out a deal, according to Antony. The Twins did quite a bit of homework on Pelfrey's recovery from Tommy John surgery in order to ascertain that the right-hander would indeed be ready for Opening Day, as he promised.
  • The Twins made several "competitive offers" to free agent starting pitchers, in some cases making better offers than the ones those pitchers ultimately took. The Twins had conversations with nearly every free agent starting pitcher and spoke with around 15 agents for pitchers at the Winter Meetings in December.
  • Following the Span trade, most teams didn't believe that the team would also trade Revere. Antony says four teams were in the mix for Revere, but the Phillies were the most aggressive and ultimately landed him with the aforementioned offer.
  • The Twins were willing to do a one-for-one swap of Span and Alex Meyer because they believe Meyer is a legitimate front-of-the-rotation candidate who can be a "dominant" strikeout pitcher.
  • The decision to bring Aaron Hicks north as the team's Opening Day center fielder was a result of Hicks' strong play in Spring Training and his poise off the field. The Twins' front office was never overly concerned with delaying Hicks' free agency by a season: "If he's that good of a player we're going to do what we can to sign him long term and none of that's going to matter."
  • Antony, GM Terry Ryan and the rest of the front office prefer to gradually expose their top prospects to the Major Leagues so as not to field a team of all rookies. Additionally, that line of thinking prevents mass arbitration and free agency issues: "If you can bring a couple guys, a couple rookies in each year, it helps infuse that and it helps to spread it out so that not everybody becomes arbitration eligible at the same time or free agents at the same time, all that stuff."
  • The Twins "admire" the Royals' bullpen of power arms and would like to build a similar bullpen. The team prioritized power arms in the 2012 Draft, selecting a number of hard-throwing college relievers.
  • Antony offered a definitive "No," when asked if the team had interest in Aaron Harang prior to his trade to the Mariners. The Twins feel they have a number of similar arms in the organization already.
  • There's been no contact between the Twins and Jim Thome for "a couple of months," and the two were never on the same page. Minnesota had interest in Thome, but they were far apart in discussions.
  • "It would be great if he could be a Twin for life," Antony said of Justin Morneau. "He's a guy who's meant a lot for this organization and we'd love it if he were to play his entire career here, but you just don't know how things are going to work out in the end."
  • Antony feels that too much has been made of the decision not to extend Ron Gardenhire prior to this season. Many have speculated that Gardenhire is on the hot seat following a pair of 90-loss seasons, but Antony said it was intended to be an organization-wide message that they're looking to get better from top to bottom. He adds that he hopes Gardenhire is the Twins' manager for years to come, and that in three years people are surprised there was even a debate.

NL Notes: Phillies, Reds, Rockies, Figgins

As players, coaches, and front office personnel begin to arrive in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training 2013, let's take a look at the news and notes from the National League:


Phillies Acquire Ben Revere

The Phillies acquired outfielder Ben Revere from the Twins, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.  Starting pitcher Vance Worley is going to the Twins in the deal, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, as well as pitching prospect Trevor May, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Both teams have since confirmed the trade.

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Revere, 24, hit .294/.333/.342 in 553 plate appearances for the Twins this year, stealing 40 bags in 49 tries.  With just one year and 149 days of Major League service, Revere will not be arbitration eligible until 2014 at the earliest, and is under team control through 2017.  He was a first-round pick of the Twins in 2007.  He'd been penciled in to take over center field from Denard Span, who the Twins dealt to the Nationals less than a week ago.

"Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement.  He's also affordable, allowing for payroll flexibility for the team.  Meanwhile, there's one less suitor for free agent Michael Bourn.

Worley, 25, posted a 4.20 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9, and 46% groundball rate in 133 innings this year for the Phillies.  He battled a bone chip in his elbow for much of the season, which was removed in September surgery.  Worley has one year and 152 days of Major League service, matching up nicely with Revere in terms of club control.

May, 23, was ranked as the Phillies' second-best prospect by MLB.com.  He posted a 4.87 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, and 1.32 HR/9 in 149 2/3 Double-A innings this year.  Prior to the season, Baseball America wrote, "If his command continues to improve, he could become a No. 2 starter, and he should be at least a solid mid-rotation workhorse."  The Twins added Alex Meyer in the Span trade, ranked the 50th-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Latest On Ben Revere

Twins outfielder Ben Revere appears to be in play, despite the team trading Denard Span to the Nationals six days ago.  Revere, 24, hit .294/.333/.342 in 553 plate appearances for the Twins this year, stealing 40 bags in 49 tries.  With just one year and 149 days of Major League service, Revere will not be arbitration eligible until 2014 at the earliest, and is under team control through 2017.  The latest:


Overnight Links: Burnett, Phillies, Giants, Rays

It's the middle of the night, but news rarely stops coming in over the course of baseball's Winter Meetings. Here are some links from around the baseball world for those who are still awake…


AL Central Rumors: Stewart, Revere, Victorino, Soria

The latest from around the AL Central…

  • Despite the fact that the Twins are looking to give Trevor Plouffe some competition at third base, Ian Stewart isn't a match with the team, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III (on Twitter).
  • Ben Revere's name has surfaced as a possible trade candidate, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Revere became the Twins' projected center field starter with the trade of Denard Span to the Nationals, so Morosi believes Minnesota might need to get a center field back in order to move Revere.
  • The Indians offered four years and $44MM to Shane Victorino, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Victorino ultimately chose a three-year, $39MM offer from Boston, but it shows that the Indians have some money to spend.
  • The Royals' offer was "not even close to what I was looking for," new Rangers setup man Joakim Soria told reporters including MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez on a conference call today.  Soria landed a two-year, $8MM deal with the Rangers.
  • The White Sox continue to have dialogue with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
  • We had a few Tigers rumors yesterday also.