The Phillies announced that they would tender a contract to Ben Revere earlier today. At the same time, they noted that they are going to start utilizing extreme defensive shifts which will involve playing Revere in a "short fielder" position on at least some occasions.
This appears to be the doing of Scott Freedman, who was hired on permanently about this time last year. The move was given credence and public support by General Manager Ruben Amaro in a hasty press conference to which only I was invited:
"Look, we know that it is against the rules to play with ten players in the field, and we're not doing that, ok? Our outfield defense was really awful last year, though. Ben can catch most anything that comes his way, even if he sometimes takes "Little Billy" routes to balls, but he throws like a 6 year old with a broken arm. We had to get creative here. When you have lemons, make a lemon party, right?"
The plan the Phillies announced for Revere is to play with three "normal" outfielders, but with no first baseman. Revere will cover first base when there is a runner on first base, but he will play to the pull side in the short gap otherwise.
"We thought hard about this during the summer before we traded Mayberry. He would have been perfect in this role, but Revere is cheaper and covers more ground. His arm is suited to the role, too. Revere isn't an ideal fit at first, ok? But what else can we do? Play Ruf there? Howard is basically a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood at first base. Revere may be a 4 x 4 sheet, but really, we're not losing much. Scott showed us that much. We'll have the pitcher cover first when Revere isn't in place, unless Diekman is in. In that case, we'll have Chooch play first and catcher. It'll be like a wheel play every single pitch. It's going to be poetry in motion."