Ender's Game: Phillies Claim Ezequiel Carrera Off Waivers

Pictured: Ezequiel Carrera's troubling and dangerous levitation powers. - Jason Miller

One of us was going to use the pun eventually; this is the last time we'll get the chance.

The Phillies (read: Matt Gelb) have announced that they've picked up former Indians Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off of waivers. This is not maybe the super exciting trade/signing you were looking for, but despite appearances, this isn't a dumb move by any stretch of the imagination. Carrera, original a Mets farmhand, was traded to the Mariners in 2008 as part of the J.J. Putz deal, and was then traded to the Indians with Juan Diaz in exchange for Russell Branyan. Carrera hasn't had much major league experience the past few years, garnering only 358 plate appearances between 2011 and 2012, but he's produced positive value in those short stints, albeit only a paltry .3 fWAR. The relative lack in value is likely based on his slash line: Carrera is a career 255/306/347 hitter. He does have more major league home runs than Ben Revere, though -- 2 more to be exact! So take that, haters.

In all seriousness, while Carrera won't necessarily scare anyone with his bat, the guy is speedy and he defends fairly well in the outfield (though, given the small sample size, this is largely a reputation kind of thing; he hasn't put up very good UZR numbers quite yet). Carrera led the majors in Spring Training with 11 stolen bases, as well, so with him and Revere in the fold, the gradual return of the Phillies to a deadball era squad becomes more and more complete by the minute. That said, they did lose some speed (and a nearly identical, though far less seasoned player) as Ender Inciarte was DFA'd as a result of the pickup. As a Rule V Draftee, Inciarte will now be available for any team to pick up, should they want to keep him on their roster all year, and then, if he is unclaimed, he will be offered back to the Diamondbacks with 25,000 dollars who will repay 25,000 dollars of the 50,000 it cost the Phillies to take him in the first place. We'll let you know where he end(er)s up.

Again, I kid a lot about the speed and no-bat qualities of Carrera, but the truth is that this is a smart pickup. Carrera will likely do everything Inciarte would have, but just without any of the growing pains, and he may in fact do far better. As our resident predictor Joecatz has brought to my attention, Carrera has a 291/368/380 career line in the minors, with 187 bases stolen at a 74% success rate. He also only has 31 errors in over 1400 attempts in the minors, though take that with whatever sized grain of salt you'd like. He's 25 and he has potential; worst case scenario, he's a decent option off the bench for a pinch runner or defensive replacement. Not bad at all.

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