Quietly, the trade deadline is lurking around the corner and the rumors are starting to heat up. We've heard Cole Hamels trade chatter for so long--the Red Sox want him; now it's the Padres; oh! what about the Rangers; but, boy, would he sure make sense for them Red Sox; THE ASTROS ARE GOOD GET THEM HAMELS, STAT--that the safest assumption is that we will all go to the grave discussing potential Hamels trades. We've always been at war with Eastasia and Cole Hamels has always been on the trade block.
But, thankfully, the national media and the rumor folk have added some diversity to their Phillies rumors. Last night, Liz Roscher begged the gods of the internet to take $13 million closer Jonathan Papelbon away. Maybe they'll take him to Canada; maybe they'll pick him up in a Model T and whisk him away to Detroit.
That's all well and good. It's a worn-out, but not-false, assessment that closers are a luxury item. They're the borderline-plastic cherry that perfects an already excellent sundae but is inedible on its own. Unlike Liz, I enjoy Papelbon's antics from the crotch adjustments to the drunken national television appearances to the fact that he keeps a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue in his locker so that he can gift it to a teammate when it strikes his fancy.
Seattle, even after acquiring Mark Trumbo, is still monitoring the market for hitters and spent the series checking in on Ben Revere.
You might be expecting that to lead to sentences offering suggestions that the Phillies have responded in kind by scouting the Mariners' system or even some old-fashioned unfounded speculation on who the Phillies would receive in return for that little compact burst of joy and smiles. We don't get that. That sentence above, which is now here (Seattle, even after acquiring Mark Trumbo, is still monitoring the market for hitters and spent the series checking in on Ben Revere) is all we get.
At first glance this makes sense. The Mariners have had a disappointing start to the season after entering the season as something of a hipster favorite to win the AL West--like any self-respecting hipster could pick and Orange County team!--and have started Dustin Ackley, he of the .198 AVG and 66 wRC+, in the outfield 39 games so far. Ben Revere has his deficiencies as a player, no doubt, but, from the Mariners' perspective he possesses one key strength: he doesn't totally suck at baseball. Perhaps playing players who don't suck will be their key to making a second-half playoff run.
On the other hand, this is the Mariners. They're the same organization that fans mock for being myopic in their pursuit of raw power and dingers. They just traded for Mark Trumbo; they've engaged in numerous transactions involving Kendrys Morales; they may have ruined the aforementioned Dustin Ackley's career by encouraging him to sell out for power. If there is one thing Revere doesn't do well besides throwing the ball and taking efficient routes to fly balls, it is hit dingers. He has 2 in 2273 career plate appearances. That ratio doesn't figure to improve in Safeco Field. He's not Dustin Ackley though. After that, you can't sweat the details too much.
For the Phillies, it makes all kinds of sense to trade Revere. With Domonic Brown heating up in Lehigh Valley and the organization seemingly committed to keeping converted infielders Odubel Herrera and Cody Asche in the outfield, there's simply not room for Ben Revere unless the Phillies adopt some newfangled defensive alignment to allow four outfielders. While that might not be a totally crazy idea with this pitching staff, it's not happening.
Of those four "outfielders"--Revere, Brown, Asche, Herrera--Revere is the easiest to trade for a fair return. If the number and frequency of Revere trade rumors are any indication, the Phillies don't see Revere as a key part of their future. If a team like the Mariners is interested in offering someone who could possibly be part of the Phillies future, the Phillies should at least explore that possibility.