Today, when everyone across the baseball world thought general manager Alex Anthopoulos was done, he delivered yet another smashing hit, acquiring outfielder Ben Revere from the Phillies for reliever prospects Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado. Oh, and the Jays got some, “cash considerations” in return as well.
The reaction around Blue Jays land was slightly unremarkable. Many considered Revere a marginal upgrade over the Ezequiel Carrera/Danny Valencia/Chris Colabello platoon that has been plaguing the Jays outfield since Dalton Pompey was demoted in mid April. In terms of WAR value for left-fielders, the Jays rank 18th across the majors and dead last in terms of defensive ratings per UZR/150.
Undeniably, Revere is not going to make the impact that David Price and Troy Tulowitzki will down the stretch this year. In Tulo’s case, he likely won’t match his output next season either. But Ben Revere is a solid upgrade.
The biggest comparison, one that is not unfamiliar to Jays’ fans, is the comparison of Jose Reyes. The two are near identical matches despite playing obviously different positions.
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As you can see, the two are nearly identical in the basic categories. The one major difference, more apparent in Reyes’s career line, is his elevated slugging percentage. Currently both have quite similar extra base potential as Reyes’s power has gradually evaporated with age. A slight edge that Revere has on the current version of Reyes is his ability to make contact, thus avoiding strikeouts. Revere strikes out at a 9.3% rate while Reyes is slightly higher at 12.5%. The walk rates aren’t drastically different either as Revere’s sits at 4.9% this season to Reyes’s 5.6%.
Yet another similarity between the two is their speed on the base-paths. With the departure of Reyes Monday evening, many in Jays land were concerned about losing some speed on the base paths. It appears they’ve regained that in Revere. In 29 attempts, Revere has stolen 24 bags (82.7%). Former Blue Jay Reyes has a similar line of 17 successful steals with 20 total attempts (85% success rate). Last year Revere was successful in 49 of 57 attempts for swiping a bag. Will Revere’s base stealing ability single handedly carry the boys in blue to the post-season? Not likely, but it’s indisputably similar to the type of running game Reyes brought to the Jays since arriving in Toronto three years ago.
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One area of perceived weakness in Revere’s game is his defensive acumen. Last season, Revere was a calamity in the Phillies outfield with a -18 DRS and -6.4 UZR. This season, he seems to have turned it around as he’s saved the struggling Phillies two runs per DRS in left alone, with three in the outfield over the season, according to Fangraphs.
It’s not exactly fair to compare Reyes to Revere based on different fielding positions; however, it is worth noting that Reyes hasn’t posted a positive DRS rating since his 2007 season in a New York Mets uniform.
The last upside to this move is the contractual upgrade Revere has over the recently departed Reyes. This year, Revere is making $4.1 million compared to Reyes’s colossal $22 million contract that runs until 2018. Revere will be arbitration eligible next season but it’s utterly inconceivable he will elevate his salary to Reyes levels.
Did the Jays give up a lot to make this happen? Maybe. In Tirado, the Jays shipped out yet another top-10 prospect but it’s not like they were doing it for a rental. Revere is just 27-years-old and has been above replacement level since making his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2010.
So Ben Revere, there you have it. He may not be the major contributor some fans were hoping for but he could potentially be the left-handed bat the Jays have been craving all season long. While it’s unlikely he will win a Gold Glove in a Jays uniform, he’s still much better than anything they have run out to left field this season.
If they bat him ninth, so be it. But it’s not inconceivable they bat him leadoff either. After all, we’re only days removed from when Jose Reyes marched out there to start the game.