Quick Thinks: Phillies make trades, work toward contention.

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This offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies have made a string of moves to improve their roster. Different than years past, the Phillies moved parts of their roster to complete the biggest roster changes so far this offseason.

In the first trade, the Phillies have sent off Vance Worley and Trevor May for Ben Revere. After the Braves snatched up B.J. Upton and the Nationals added Denard Span, the Phillies options were diminishing. The rest of the division was solving their outfield needs while the Phillies were left needing.Trevor May was arguably the Phillies best prospect. I would contend that both pieces the Phillies moved are over valued, and the trade seems fair. 

I see Worley as being a good end of the rotation man, a solid 4th pitcher in a rotation. In other systems with less dominant names in their rotation, Worley can certainly earn that 3rd spot in an order. I don’t think his stuff is dominant, nor has his control been superb. But, in the right situation, I think he can really thrive in that fourth spot.

May has never really impressed in games that I’ve seen. Sure, he throws hard. Yes, everyone wants fireball pitchers. Yes, when you throw hard, you can get away with suspect control at times. But, May took a step back last year. Ultimately, I didn’t see anything that showed he was going to thrive with the guidance he’s receiving in the organization. I hope he pans out for the Twins, but honestly, I don’t think he will prove to be much of a loss. 

The addition of Ben Revere is a high upside decision. Ben Revere has little power, and gets challenged often in the batter’s box because pitchers don’t fear his bat. However, he can certainly hurt you in other ways. Revere had more in field hits this past year, and changes games with his speed. Defensively, I think Revere will be a step up from the current Phillies possibilities. Revere, is his own right, is an absolute bargain. He’s set to make $492,000 this season, and is two years removed from arbitration. Most of all, Revere is only 24 years old. In an organization with a tendency to grow older and older with every transaction, Revere is a stark contrast, the thought of possible potential has not yet been extinguished. 

If Revere can be a top of the lineup guy, his speed can bring an added dimension the Phillies offense desperately needs. Last year, the Phillies made a shift to a ‘small ball’ approach, with much of their lineup much to slow, injured, or inconsistent to regularly produce. Revere represents a continuation of that approach. 

The second trade of the winter occurred when the Philadelphia Phillies dealt to get Michael Young from the Texas Rangers. Young, who may have had a much greater impact had this trade occurred three or four years ago, is an aging option at third base. However, if he can manage defensively, he will add more of an offensive prowess than the Phillies have had in years at that position.

This offseason, the Phillies bought out the remainder of the contract with Placido Polanco. Declining in production, Polanco’s chronic injuries truly began to plague his ability to get on the field in the last two seasons.

The Rangers agreed to pick up $10 million of his $16 million salary. In addition, Texas received reliever Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla. Knowing nothing about Bonilla, I think this is a great trade for the Phillies. Young at $6 million is a bargain. If he gets 80+ RBIs this season and stays healthy enough to play 130+ games, I think the Phillies have an absolute steal.

The Philadelphia Phillies still rely heavily Utley and Howard’s production in the middle of the lineup. The additions of Revere and Young supplement the offense. However, neither will ultimately carry this team. It is still reliant on Howard and Utley having bounce back seasons.

In addition, they need two of their three aces to perform like premier Cy Young quality aces they can be. If Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Halladay can succeed throughout the year, and overcome an injury to one of them, the Phillies have a chance to compete. The biggest remaining question remains their bullpen, and the team of pitchers to come in and close out games. I’d be curious to see what the Phillies are planning in that regard.

Ultimately, the division has gotten better. The Nationals and Braves are getting better and better. The Philadelphia Phillies stand in contention, no longer as dominant as they had been in years past.