NASHVILLE - The Phillies decided Thursday they would rather pay a high price in terms of players than dollars for their new centerfielder.
That's why righthander Vance Worley and prospect pitcher Trevor May now work for Minnesota and the lefthanded-hitting Ben Revere is coming to Philadelphia from the Twins to play center field.
Instead of paying high-price free agents such as Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton, the Phillies opted for the less accomplished and far less expensive Revere, who is not even eligible for salary arbitration until after the 2013 season.
"I think we were dealing from a position of strength because of the young arms we have been developing in our system," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said by phone as he prepared to board a flight back to Philadelphia. "We gave up a lot for this player, but we acquired a player who is under our control and can do a lot of things for us."
The acquisition of Revere was the Phillies' first significant addition of the offseason, but it surely will not be the last. In fact, multiple sources confirmed that the team also has a deal on the table for Texas infielder Michael Young that may need only his approval for completion. As a player who has spent 10 years in the big leagues, including five with the same team, he has the right to reject any trade to another team.
Young, 36, has strong ties to the Rangers because they are the only big-league team he has ever played for, but he also has a contentious relationship with Texas general manager Jon Daniels and reportedly has been told his playing time is going to be reduced next season.
Amaro said the Phillies acquired Revere because they believe he is a premier defensive centerfielder, but they also like the things he can do offensively. The general manager compared Revere to a young Bourn.
"He could hit at the top of the order or the bottom of the order," Amaro said. "We got him for his defense, but he can hit, too."
Revere, 24, had a .326 batting average and .383 on-base percentage in parts of five seasons in the Twins' minor-league system and batted .294 in 553 plate appearances with the big-league team last season. He also stole 40 bases in 49 attempts and scored 70 runs. He did not make an error while playing 121 games at all three outfield positions.
One thing Revere will not provide is power. He has zero home runs and 33 extra-base hits in 1,064 plate appearances.
Worley, 25, had gone from a fringe prospect at the start of 2010 to a valued member of a star-studded rotation in 2011. He finished third in the rookie-of-the-year voting that year after posting an 11-3 record and 3.01 ERA. He was unable to repeat that success in 2012 as he went 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA before being shut down late in the year with a bone spur that was surgically removed.
With Worley's departure, it's possible the Phillies could be in the market for a veteran free agent to join their rotation. Some possible names to watch for are Shaun Marcum, John Lannan, Ryan Dempster, and Edwin Jackson.
"We could go either way to fill the other spot," Amaro said. "We could go outside the organization or inside the organization. Jonathan Pettibone is close. Tyler Cloyd will be in the mix."
The four definite starters in the rotation are Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Kyle Kendrick.
May, a 23-year-old righthander, was considered the best pitching prospect in the Phillies organization after Jarred Cosart was traded to Houston in 2011. But the righthander struggled through most of last season, posting a 10-13 record and a 4.87 ERA at double-A Reading.
Revere's addition leaves Amaro with plenty of work to do and plenty of cash to do it.
"We still have plenty of flexibility monetarily to try to piece the rest of this thing together," the general manager said.
At the moment, the Phillies have slightly more than $136 million committed to 11 players, and lefthander Antonio Bastardo is the only player on their roster eligible for salary arbitration.
If the Phillies add Young through a trade as their primary third baseman, it would be at less than the $16 million he is scheduled to make in the final year of his contract with the Rangers. Texas may have to eat at least half that salary.
The inexpensive addition of Revere should also allow the Phillies to seek an experienced corner outfielder and possibly at a high price. Cody Ross and Nick Swisher are among the top corner outfielders still available in free agency.
Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
2010 28 1 5 0 0 0 2 2 5 0 1 .233 .179 .179
2011 450 56 120 9 5 0 30 26 41 34 9 .310 .309 .267
2012 511 70 150 13 6 0 32 29 54 40 9 .333 .342 .294
Career 989 127 275 22 11 0 64 57 100 74 19 .319 .323 .278