NASHVILLE, Tenn. - At the conclusion of Thursday morning's Rule 5 draft, which might as well end with a school bell signifying it's OK for everyone to leave the building en masse, Phillies pro scouting director Mike Ondo was breaking down his team's pick.
The Phils selected a 22-year-old centerfielder named Ender Inciarte from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Someone joked to Ondo that the Phillies' long, calculated pursuit for a centerfielder was finally over.
Ondo politely laughed. He knew the real news would hit the Opryland Hotel after he and the rest of the Phillies brass were about to board a plane back to Philly.
After a quiet first 3 days in Nashville, the Phillies ended their search for a centerfielder by completing a three-player trade with the Minnesota Twins. The Phils acquired 24-year-old Ben Revere in exchange for starting pitcher Vance Worley and pitching prospect Trevor May.
Revere, who hit .294 in his second full season in 2012, is expected to be the Phillies' everyday centerfielder in 2013.
The team settled on Revere after missing out on their two preferred centerfield options on the free-agent market, B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan. Since Revere is not eligible for salary arbitration until after the upcoming season, trading for him could enable the Phils to use the money saved to acquire a bigger bat for a corner outfield spot.
"We still have plenty of flexibility monetarily to try to piece the rest of this thing together," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Amaro may not be finished making moves before the weekend. The final day of the winter meetings began with early-morning buzz that the Phils were on the cusp of adding Texas Rangers All-Star Michael Young to play third base.
According to a source, the deal was awaiting approval from Young, 36, who has spent each of his 13 big-league seasons with Texas. The Rangers are expected to take on a sizable portion of the $16 million Young is owed in 2013, the final year of his contract.
Young, a career .301 hitter, is coming off a 2012 season when he hit .277 with a career-low .682 OPS and eight home runs in 156 games. He only played 25 games at third base in 2012 and has not played the position regularly since 2010.
Since the Phils are likely to take on some of Young's salary, which helps a Texas team that's in talks with the two biggest free agents on the market, Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, they are unlikely to part with premium talent in the deal.
The Phillies did, however, pay a steep price to acquire Revere.
While the Phils got a young, controllable player in Revere, they traded one away in Worley. And in a market where players are getting overpaid (Joe Blanton for a guaranteed $15 million?), pitchers like Worley, who can't be a free agent until 2018, are at a premium.
Worley, 25, went 18-13 with a 3.50 ERA in 53 games (46 starts) with the Phillies in the last three seasons. He finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011, when he went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA, but struggled last summer, sporting a 4.20 ERA in 23 starts.
May, meanwhile, had been billed as the team's top pitching prospect as recently as last spring. May, 23, also struggled in 2012, however, going 10-13 with a 4.87 ERA in 28 starts at Double A Reading, where he allowed 139 hits in 149 2/3 innings.
Both May and Worley, however, were at the very least talented enough to fill out the bottom of a major league rotation. Rich with young pitching in the minor leagues, the Phils felt it was worth the price in getting Revere, who, like Worley, cannot become a free agent until 2018.
"I think we were dealing from a position of strength because of the young arms we have been developing in our system," Amaro said. "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."
What exactly can Revere do?
A lefthanded hitter, Revere batted .294 with a .333 on-base percentage in 124 games with Minnesota last year. He stole 40 bases in 49 attempts.
He is also considered a plus defender, although he played rightfield primarily for the Twins, who had veteran Denard Span in center. Revere played 126 games in centerfield in the last two seasons.
But there's also something Revere clearly cannot do: hit for power. Revere doesn't have a home run and has just 33 extra-base hits in 1,064 career plate appearances in 254 games since breaking into the big leagues in 2010.
As a minor leaguer, Revere had 84 extra-base hits (five home runs) in 403 games from 2007-12 while hitting .326 with a .383 OBP.
"He can go top of the order or bottom of the order, either way," Amaro said of Revere's projected spot in the lineup. "For us it was about the defense and the speed. We like athletic players, and he's certainly that. He has great energy, a fantastic defender. And those are priorities for us."
Amaro said the Phillies could fill Worley's void in the rotation either internally - Tyler Cloyd and Jonathan Pettibone are possibilities - or they could add a veteran arm this winter.
In trading for Revere rather than signing the pricy Michael Bourn, the Phils should have the money to not only add to their pitching, but to also bolster the offense, too.