The Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies paired up on a trade on Thursday, with the Twins sending center fielder Ben Revere to the Phillies in exchange for major league pitcher Vance Worley and minor league pitching prospect Trevor May.
The Phillies over-paid in this deal in terms of what they gave up, but give that the alternative was a major financial commitment to a free agent (likely Michael Bourn), trading for Revere is a significantly better alternative. From the standpoint of the trade, it certainly seems like a straight swap of Revere for Worley would have been enough, but overpaying with May is better than committing $100 million to Bourn.
The deal makes sense for both teams in terms of filling needs. The Phillies desperately needed someone to play legitimate center field defense, which happens to be Revere's best tool. The Twins desperately needed pitching, both at the major and minor league levels. The Phillies can now take the money they may have spent on Bourn and direct it towards another starting pitcher (Kyle Lohse, Kevin Correia and others come to mind) and are probably a more balanced team.
But if Worley and Revere are essentially a wash, then the inclusion of May in this trade means the Phillies paid too much. May entered the season as the Phillies top prospect in a farm system that has been drastically weakened by trades over the past few seasons. May is a workhorse who took a step back in 2012, getting hit hard in Double-A and posting a 4.87 ERA while striking out a career low 9.1 K/9 - still a good total. He also led the Eastern League in walks.
At his best, the 6'5" May profiles as a durable innings-eater who could be as good as a number two starter in a major league rotation, but at the very least, should end up being a league-average starter. Where he falls in that spectrum will be determined by whether or not he gets his command under control.
For the Twins, the move opens the door for 2008 first round pick Aaron Hicks, who had a strong season in Double-A in 2012. Hicks, who just turned 23 after the season, showed off more power this past season than he had in his professional career, something scouts were waiting to see. He's still not a power hitter, however, but he is a strong center fielder and has a strong eye at the plate, hitting .286/.384/.460 last year. He won't begin the season in Minnesota, but he could be up by mid-season after spending some time in Triple-A.
Here's what others had to say about the deal:
- Conor Glassey of Baseball America has scouting reports on all three players involved.
- John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com thinks "this is a great deal for the Twins.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.com says "the real mystery is why the Phillies felt it necessary to add May to make this deal."
- Keith Law of ESPN.com notes that the Phillies "solved their center-field problem for the next few years, but at a pretty high cost in young pitching."
- Beerleaguer.com is "okay with going with cheap defense to solve the center field situation, but the Phils will need to add a major run producer to one of the corners or it will be among the worst outfields in the league next season."