The Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro chose to make their big moves this offseason with trades instead of free agency. With a slew of high priced talent available conventional wisdom said that Phillies would chase down expensive talent like Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton, or Michael Bourn. Instead of making expensive signings Ruben Amaro decided to get creative and go the trade route.
Instead of the speedster Bourn the Phillies traded for the comparable Ben Revere. Revere is gearing up to be a very similar player as Bourn, freakishly fast with a decent On-Base%. The only difference is that Bourn has been going for 5 seasons longer, and for the money Revere’s major league minimum contract is a better fit.
2012 Revere Avg .294 OBP .333 SB 40 HR 0 K% 9.8
2012 Bourn .274 .348 42 9 22
To get Revere they shipped Vance Worley and prospect Trevor May to the Minnesota Twins. This was a good swap; I believe the Phillies have already seen the best from Worley. The idea is that when your team has a talented player that is not going to be an elite player you trade him at his height of production to obtain an elite or potentially elite player. That is exactly what the Phillies did, while simultaneously clearing a bit of player salaries. They traded from a position with depth (starting pitching) for a needed outfielder. Trevor May as part of that trade was a price the Phillies had to pay in this, the Phillies final “All-in” year.
Then there was the Michael Young trade. Young was to the Texas Rangers what Chase Utley is to the Phillies, except Young has been relevant for longer than Chase. The Phillies gave up basically nothing to get him. Josh Lindblom was part of the Shane Victorino salary dump and was not very effective in his stint with the Phils. Lisalverto Bonilla was a minor league throw in.
Young brings a career .301 batting average to the table. He also brings more experience to an already abundantly experienced Phillies team. Factor in how much the Phillies need right handed batters and that Young is a one-year rental and it looks like a match made in heaven. As far as settling goes you can do way worse than Michael Young.
What I do not like is that Amaro did not get any power in trades or free agency this offseason. Michael Young has hit 20+ home runs only four times in his 12 seasons (2003,04,09,10). In 1,064 major league at bats Ben Revere has a whopping zero homes. At 37 I would be surprised if Young had another power surge in Philadelphia, and Revere does not have any power to speak of (though he may pop out one or two over that short porch in Citizens Bank).
The only player with consistent home run power on the roster is Ryan Howard, and even I know how to strike him out (off speed, low and away). To get top grades this offseason Ruben Amaro needs to make one more trade, for Arizona Diamondbacks Justin Upton. He would give the Phillies a much-needed powerful right-handed batter, and would put a veteran with a plus glove in left field. Another scenario to look out for is the Phillies signing Bourn. The longer he sits unsigned the more likely he is to sign a rental contract. With Bourn, Revere, Jimmy Rollins, and potentially Dominic Brown watching the Phillies run the bases could be fun.