Ben Revere was escorted into the Phillies clubhouse Thursday afternoon by two team officials. Inside, the lights were dimmed to accentuate the Christmas decorations, complete with a village of mechanical caroler figurines in the center of the room.
Their new present, a speedy, defensive-minded centerfielder, was unwrapped on a day of seismic shifts in the baseball world. The Phillies, for now, are relegated to watching.
"I know they'll make moves," Revere said.
The options are dwindling. Josh Hamilton was never a serious one; the Phillies were always interested but not comfortable guaranteeing more than three years. It's unclear whether an offer was ever actually made. That left them decidedly on the periphery when the Los Angeles Angels stunned everyone Thursday with a five-year, $125 million agreement.
The top corner outfielder is off the market. Nick Swisher and Cody Ross could soon follow. The Phillies are wary of offering more than three guaranteed years to any player above 30. Signing Swisher would cost the Phillies the No. 16 pick in June's draft.
Now, with Texas scorned by Hamilton and needing some sort of offensive addition, the Rangers could enter the market for Swisher or Ross. That would drive their prices up.
It has created a maelstrom that forces general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. into a search for alternatives. He reportedly made a two-year, $14 million offer to Ichiro Suzuki, who was expected to accept less money to return to the New York Yankees.
That offer was surprising for a few reasons. Most notable is that Ichiro is not the prototypical corner outfielder the Phillies require. He is 39 and posted the lowest on-base percentage of his career (.307) in 2012. He has a career slugging percentage of .419. (The league average was .405 in 2012.) He led all of baseball in hits for five straight seasons from 2006 to '10.
The offer did provide a window into Amaro's thinking. The Phillies have not signed a non-homegrown position player to longer than a three-year contract in a decade. That was Jim Thome, who signed a six-year deal in December 2002, just four days after David Bell inked a four-year pact.
Hamilton's surprise signing directly affects Swisher, who could have a new, desperate suitor in Texas. Swisher was said to already demand a four-year deal. It could grow, in both years and dollars.
The Phillies like Ross, who torched them in the 2010 National League Championship Series. He is reportedly asking for three years at slightly less than $30 million total. That, too, could increase.
The Angels have a surplus of offensive pieces, which could lead to a trade of Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo. The timing is not great for the Phillies, who have long coveted Bourjos and may have valued him above Revere. ESPN.com reported that Trumbo will not be made available in trade talks.
Even if there was a possible match there, the Phllies have already used up almost all of their trade chips. Catcher Sebastian Valle is one remaining piece. There is some pitching depth, but it is slimmer after Vance Worley and Trevor May were dealt for Revere.
If the Rangers bid for Swisher or Ross, that could drive Amaro to improve his club through pitching additions because the offensive market is prohibitive. The GM has said he wants a "low-risk, high-reward" pitcher to be his fifth starter. There are better options out there and Amaro has money - approximately $20 million in 2013 salary - to spend.
The Phillies appear unwilling to surrender the 16th overall pick in June's draft because so much minor-league talent has been traded. That selection is the highest for the Phillies since 2001. If they sign Swisher, they would forfeit that pick. They would also forfeit the bonus money that is tied to that pick, which drains their overall money pool for signing all drafted players under the new collective bargaing agreement.
In the meantime, they have Revere, who said he was first informed of a possible trade to Atlanta before the Phillies made a play. The 24-year-old believes he can mature into a more complete hitter. His defense is instantly valuable to a strong pitching staff.
"Those guys look at me," Revere said, "and say, 'Catch the balls out there and help me win another Cy Young.' That's why they wanted me out there for. Hopefully, I make our offense that much more dangerous. I'll try to prove that."