Has this Phillies team been snakebitten in recent years or what? Ben Revere, one of the hottest hitters in baseball, is out 6-8 weeks after surgery to repair a broken foot. Replacing him won't be easy, but it's necessary to stay in the race in July and August.
Revere was hitting .407 over his last 29 games and .347 since May 1. You don't simply replace that. The tentative plan is to play John Mayberry every day in center field. And while that might work for a week or 10 days, what will happen is what always happens when Mayberry is pressed into everyday duty -- his weaknesses against right-handed breaking balls will be exposed and he'll go into an unproductive funk.
The Phils need to address this situation quickly, and Ruben Amaro seems inclined to add an outfielder who can platoon with Mayberry. Keep in mind that Mayberry is a career .279/.322/.537 hitter vs. lefties. He's quite valuable when used properly.
Here are some options:
Alex Rios - White Sox
The most high-profile and high-priced option you'll find here. Rios can play CF and RF, and is under contract through 2015 at $26 million total if the trading team picks up his option.
Rios would cost a lot. He didn't show it in the weekend series at Citizens Bank Park, but he's a versatile outfielder who hits for power, can run and throw. He's prone to cold spells and has been in one for a little while now. Rios hit .306 with a .928 OPS in his first 44 games, but has hit .236/.286/.308 with one homer in his last 44 games.
He's the best outfielder you'll find on the trade market and he'd be of value to the Phillies not just this season, but in 2014 and 2015 as well. Rios would give the Phils a legitimate corner outfield bat, but he'd cost a lot in the way of prospects. The Phils are probably better served finding a lesser option for now, not sacrificing prospects, and then having their pick of outfield help in free agency.
Alejandro De Aza - White Sox
I just don't see how this fits. De Aza would get lost in the shuffle when Revere returns, and he's not a game-changing player. Sure, he has speed and some pop, but he strikes out a ton (90 in 88 games) and plays a pretty poor center field.
He's under team control for two more seasons after this, so again, he'd cost a lot.
Nate Schierholtz - Cubs
Over at CSNPhilly.com, I outlined how the Phillies could fill both of their holes by calling Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer of the Cubs. Schierholtz is a piece of that.
The Phillies non-tendered him for pretty much no reason this past offseason, and he's responded by having the best first half of his career. Finally given the chance to play everyday, Schierholtz has hit .278 with a .862 OPS, 11 homers and 33 RBI against right-handed pitchers.
He can fake it in center and be one-half of a platoon with Mayberry. Schierholtz hits righties the way Mayberry mashes lefties, so it almost makes too much sense.
The Cubs have no real attachment to him -- they signed Schierholtz to a one-year, $2.25 million contract that expires in a few months. Give the Cubs a mid-tier pitching prospect and you might complete a deal.
They never should have non-tendered him, but Amaro has shown he's willing to reacquire players he made mistakes on in the past.
Justin Ruggiano - Marlins
Hitting .212. Bats right-handed. Isn't a great centerfielder. Isn't a legit upgrade over Mayberry. No thanks.
Marlon Byrd - Mets
He's been the Mets' most productive hitter outside of David Wright, and New York reportedly is not taking calls on him. Go figure.
Franklin Gutierrez - Mariners
All glove, no bat. Gutierrez is currently rehabbing his way back from a hamstring injury and has played just 18 games this season. Since his breakout 2009, he's hit .242 with a .291 OBP.
His centerfield defense is astoundingly good, however.
Norichika Aoki - Brewers
He might not even be available, but the underrated Japanese outfielder would definitely be worth acquiring. A wizard with the bat who strikes out less than any player in baseball, Aoki has hit .291/.357/.404 in 985 plate appearances since coming over to America.
He's a left-handed hitter who is already out of the batter's box before his swing is complete. He has a tremendous feel for the strike zone, hits to all fields and even has some pop. Aoki had 10 homers and 37 doubles last year.
The presence of Carlos Gomez in Milwaukee has limited Aoki to just 19 games total in center field.
Aoki would fit well, but would probably cost a lot in a trade because of his ridiculously affordable contract. He made $1 million last year, is due $1.25MM this year and has a $1.5MM team option next season.
If forced to rank these options, I'd go:
6) De Aza
How about you?