9:20pm: The Nationals and Blue Jays are nearing a deal that would send Revere to D.C. in exchange for Storen, Heyman reports on Twitter.
9:13pm: Washington’s interest is “very strong,” Heyman tweets, who says it is indeed “possible” that Storen could be a key piece in a trade scenario. The Jays are looking to add to their relief corps in a deal involving Revere, per the report.
8:57pm: The Nationals are at least considering making a play for Blue Jays outfielder Ben Revere, Jon Heyman reports on Twitter. Washington has long been said to be seeking a center-field-capable outfielder, especially one that swings from the left side.
Obviously, Washington just saw precisely such a player — incumbent starter Denard Span — leave by way of free agency. It never seemed there was much of a chance of a reunion, particularly after the Nats decided not to make him a qualifying offer.
Revere, 27, is projected by MLBTR to earn a healthy $6.7MM through arbitration this year and can be controlled for another season thereafter through the arb system. He’s coming off of his best overall season at the plate as a big leaguer, having posted a .306/.342/.377 slash over 634 plate appearances split between the Phillies and Blue Jays. Revere rarely strikes out, but also doesn’t walk much at all, making him highly dependent on sustaining a high batting average — which he’s done by making loads of solid-enough contact and then turning on the jets.
Of course, Revere’s biggest assets are his legs. Not only has he swiped eighty bags over the past two years, he’s also been second in all of baseball in total value on the basepaths in that span. Curiously, though, he’s seen his defensive valuations plummet despite his obvious athleticism. Revere rated as a well-above-average outfielder during his last two years with the Twins, but has ranged between below average and rather awful over his three most recent campaigns. Poor routes have often been cited as an explanation, though it remains curious that Revere was able to draw high marks from metrics previously.
Obviously, any effort to add Revere would require the Nats to dangle something appealing to the Blue Jays. Toronto certainly seems to be in a position to ship him out, as the team could rely upon players such as Kevin Pillar, Michael Saunders, and Dalton Pompey to occupy center and left. But sacrificing that depth, after having given value to get Revere last July, would surely come at a price.
One concept that I’ve seen floated as a hypothetical possibility would be to structure a swap around Nationals reliever Drew Storen. He’s projected to take home $8.8MM via arbitration before hitting the open market after the season, and Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post tweeted today that he’s still very much available.
There are certainly other ways to imagine a deal coming together, depending on the respective motivations of each team to move these not-inexpensive pieces, but the pen is one area that the Jays could stand to upgrade. And the concept of exchanging players with roughly similar salaries often holds appeal. (Consider, for instance, the recent Jon Niese–Neil Walker swap or the Nationals’ own deal last year sending Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar.)