Should Ben Revere be Part of the Philadelphia Phillies Future?


With the trade deadline approaching, most of the speculation has centered around Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. But another veteran Phillie has also had his name mentioned quite a bit: Ben Revere.

Jason Ferrie did an excellent job of breaking down why Revere could be attractive to a contending team looking for an outfield upgrade. But is trading Revere really the best option for the Phillies? Is it possible that they might be better off in the long run if they keep him around?

The decision seems to come down to a few factors:

How good is Revere likely to be in the future?

In his fifth major league season, Revere is on his way to a career-best year. He’s increased his walk rate, already matched his career-best in doubles, and will probably set a new high mark for triples as well. He also continues to be a terror on the base paths, and will likely finish the season with over 40 stolen bases.

Jul 18, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Ben Revere (2) make a catch during the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

By most reports, he’s also improved defensively. Part of that has been due to spending more time in the corner positions, but it seems as if his ball recognition and route running have gotten better as well.

This raises a question: Is Revere enjoying a career year or has he just reached his prime? In other words, should we expect this kind of performance from Revere going forward, or is he more likely to revert to his pre-2015 levels? (Not that he was a bad player before, but it was hard to describe him as better than adequate.)

My gut tells me that he can sustain this level of play. He’s reportedly tried to become more selective at the plate and has worked to improve his defense. At age 27, he should have another four years or so of prime performance.

What could they get in exchange for Revere?

When the Phillies traded for Revere before the 2013 season, they gave away Vance Worley and Trevor May. Both pitchers’ stock was down at the time. Worley – the hotshot rookie of 2011 – had suffered through an uneven 2012 season, and May – despite being one of the team’s better minor leaguers – wasn’t considered a top 100 prospect at the time.

Is Revere worth more than that today? On one hand, he’s more of a known quantity, and teams trading for him have a good idea of what to expect. On the other hand, he’s more expensive now and has only two more seasons of club control left.

When the Phillies traded Marlon Byrd, they received Ben Lively in return. Lively is generally viewed as a middling prospect who could one become a back-of-the-rotation starter. My guess is that Revere would net a similar return.

How much will Revere cost?

Revere will make $4.1 million in 2015. He’s eligible for arbitration the next two seasons, and can probably expect a modest raise each year.

Michael Bourn. Image Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After that, he’ll be a free agent. I’m not sure what to expect since it seems that free agent outfielders always get overpaid. For example, Michael Bourn, another speedy outfielder, received a four year/$48 million dollar deal before the 2013 season.

According to bWAR, Bourn was a superior player, but considering salary inflation, I imagine Revere would be able to get a deal that isn’t too far off from that. Figure on him getting at least $10 million a year as a free agent.

Can they replace Revere?

Many people feel that Revere is not only replaceable, but the Phillies already have his replacement on their roster: Odubel Herrera

Odubel Herrera. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to properly analyze Herrera considering he’s only 23, he’s never played above the AA level in the minors, and before this season, he was a second baseman. He’s shown some flashes, but at times he has also looked like a 23-year-old AA second baseman.

Could Herrera develop to the point where he is equal to Revere? If so, wouldn’t it make sense to go with the younger, cheaper option?

My Take

If the Phillies want to be contenders sooner (2017?) rather than later, then they should keep Revere.

I think he’s likely to stay at his current performance level for the foreseeable future, which means he’d be adequate as a starting outfielder on a contender. Based on the way that teams seem to be hoarding prospects, I doubt that whatever player they get in exchange for him will ever be that good.

While he will get more expensive in the coming years, based on their current salary commitments, as well as the upcoming television contract, the team should have no trouble fitting him into their payroll.

Perhaps the Phillies will approach him this offseason and see about a contract extension. Revere might be the type of player who would accept a “hometown discount.” If they sign him to a four year deal, that would buy out his remaining arbitration years as well as the first two years of free agency, potentially lowering the cost.

Even if they don’t pursue a new deal, I think Revere’s production and age merit keeping him around.

Next: Phillies Discussing Papelbon Trade with Nationals

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