Though technically not an acquisition, the return of Ben Revere to the top of the lineup and middle of the outfield defense could be the biggest offseason upgrade for the Philadelphia Phillies. They did not have him for half of last season, but they do have him now, and the broken foot suffered on a foul ball in early July is fully healed.
When a team misses a table-setter and a guy who could chase down balls for half a season like Revere, getting that kind of player back is really like going on the open market for one, and that is the attitude the Phillies seem to have going into Spring Training.
Look at it this way — the team was ranked No. 26 in scoring runs last year and had a number of starting pitchers with fine ERAs, but not the wins to match the ERAs because of it. As the team’s only full-time .300 hitter (.305 when he went down), Revere not only got on base, but his speed gave the Phils’ No. 2 hittters, usually Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, fastballs to hit.
When Revere left the lineup, pitches got a whole lot tougher for not only Rollins and Utley, but Ryan Howard as well. When Revere gets on base, the chances for Rollins, Utley and Howard getting on base rise exponentially.
When asked what the most disappointing aspect of the team was in August and September, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. mentioned outfield defense and said the team might be obligated to acquire a defensive specialist since stopgap players like John Mayberry Jr. and Cesar Hernandez had limited range. They did not do that, but they still have Revere. While Revere does not possess a strong arm, he can chase balls down in the gaps with the best center fielders and that’s the kind of outfield defense the team needs.
Both on offense and defense, Revere’s contributions should be invaluable this season.