3:29pm: Asked whether he had in fact sought Paxton or Walker from the Mariners in exchange for Revere, Amaro told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (in no uncertain terms) that he had not.
“Typically we would not comment on rumors,” said Amaro. “But when they reach this level of ridiculousness, I can say unequivocally that what has been written is false.”
1:35pm: Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners did indeed contact the Phillies regarding Revere, but talks quickly halted due to the unreasonable asking price of James Paxton or Taijuan Walker.
This early in the trade season, it makes sense for Amaro and other sellers to aim high when discussing players they’re not under any pressure to trade. However, a pitcher of Paxton or Walker’s caliber is clearly far too steep a price for Seattle. Dutton notes that the Mariners’ interest could pick back up if the Phillies lower their asking price, and I’d expect that to happen over the coming weeks.
8:39am: Though they’ve already made what they hope will be an upgrade to their offense by acquiring Mark Trumbo from the Diamondbacks, the Mariners also scouted Ben Revere during the Phillies’ recent series with the Reds, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Seattle is “still monitoring the market for hitters” even after the Trumbo trade, per Salisbury (mention of Revere is near the end of the linked piece).
Revere has been displaced in left field by Cody Asche, who has transitioned to the position after moving off of third base to accommodate Maikel Franco. In center field, the Phillies have continued to utilize Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera despite lackluster offense and somewhat below-average defense. While Herrera’s struggles — he’s hitting .255/.286/.370 and has been worth -1.5 runs per UZR — could have been enough to cost him a spot on a contending club, the rebuilding Phillies can afford to keep him on the 25-man roster to keep him in the organization. It’s also understandable, then, if the Phillies prefer to continue giving him at-bats as opposed to stashing him on the bench and costing him reps at the plate and in the field that could be beneficial down the line.
Right field hasn’t been the Phillies’ most productive position, with veterans Jeff Francoeur and the recently released Grady Sizemore seeing most of the action there this season. But, Revere’s sub-par throwing arm makes left field a better fit than right field, and there’s still the potential that Domonic Brown could receive another look.
Revere himself acknowledged recently that he might be squeezed out of a spot with the Phillies, telling Salisbury late last month: “This is a business. When [Cody] Asche and [Domonic Brown] come back we’re going to have a lot of outfielders and someone might be out. I just have to prepare to help my team win whether it’s here or somewhere else. Just bust my tail and try to stay in the lineup.”
Of course, Revere hasn’t hit as well in 2015 as he did in his first two years with the Phillies, perhaps making him a tougher sell to teams looking at his bat. After hitting .306/.329/.358 in 2013-14 with Philadelphia, he’s batting just .270/.312/.352 in 2015. He remains a plus on the basepaths, but with 12 steals, Revere is not on pace to match 2014’s total of 49 steals. There are other ways to add value on the bases, to be sure, but Fangraphs valued Revere at +10.8 runs on the bases in 2014, compared to just +0.9 in 2015. At the very least, Revere is hitting quite well in June, though 10 days of improved offensive performance likely has little impact on his overall trade value.
Then again, Revere’s cumulative production to this point would represent an upgrade over what Seattle has received from its left fielders, who have combined to bat .199/.283/.328 this year. More troubling is the fact that said batting line includes 60 strong plate appearances from Seth Smith while serving as a left fielder. Regular left fielder Dustin Ackley is hitting just .198/.257/.328, and projected platoon-mate Rickie Weeks has batted just .163/.264/.250 in addition to turning in poor defense. It’s possible that Revere could form somewhat of an unconventional platoon with Smith, supplanting both Ackley and Weeks in left field. Though both Revere and Smith hit left-handed, Revere has handled left-handed pitching better than right-handed pitching throughout his career (.685 OPS vs. .655 OPS).
The 27-year-old Revere, who led the NL with 184 hits in 2014, is earning $4.1MM in 2015 after avoiding arbitration for the second time this past offseason. As a Super Two player, he’ll be arb-eligible twice more before becoming eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.