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Could the Twins still trade Ben Revere?

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ID:	2801After a session with the team’s brass, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire emerged from their war room (war not WAR) at the Nashville hotel and, following the trade of Denard Span, told the MLB Network that they were “trading my whole damn team.”

While it could be just a tongue-in-cheek response from the manager who is known to add some snark, because of the team’s current status of a bottom-dwelling squad without a rotation, the sentiment should be true.

The front office has been extremely vocal about not trading Josh Willingham unless they were blown away with an offer and there has not been much discussion about moving Justin Morneau this winter. There is one unlikely Twins player who may have value at the winter meetings who the front office could consider moving and that is Ben Revere.

If Revere is able to be packaged in a deal that could fetch a decent rotation arm the Twins should consider taking it. Both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Atlanta Braves are in need of a starting center fielder and Revere’s youth and cost control may be appealing enough to pry one of their surplus arms.

Revere, 24, will enter his third season at the major league level. Last year, the speedy outfielder developed into a high-average hitter with well above-average defensive chops when it came to covering ground and making acrobatic catches.

Meanwhile, on the bases, Revere swiped 40 bases -- succeeding in his kleptomania 82% of the time -- and, by Fangraphs.com’s accounting system, was the seventh-highest valued base-runner in the game. Baseball-Reference.com’s warehouse said that his legs added five runs to the Twins’ ledger in 2012 (tied for fourth highest in MLB) which equates to roughly a half a win.

Given that he’s just beginning to adapt to the world’s best competition, the expectation is that he will continue to improve. After all, with his speed, he’s guaranteed to accumulate hits like Flo Rida. However, there are several areas in which he has been deficient and that is his ability to compile walks and hit for power.

In addition outstanding speed and bat control - which Revere has displayed - premium leadoff hitters are adept at increasing pitch counts and coaxing walks. While he produced terrific numbers through his minor league career, Revere’s walk rate was below 7%, relying on batted balls to find seams in the defense to buoy his on-base percentage. Similarly, Revere’s power drought has been one nearing historic proportions and given how he puts the ball in play (mostly grounders), the odds are strong that he usurps Greg Gross for most plate appearances without a home run.

These are two aspects of his game which are unlikely to change. Sure, his high average, high range and high speed talents may help cover up those shortcomings sufficiently but there is also indications that he is not in the Twins’ plan beyond 2013.

If the Twins trade Revere, the duty of center field would like fall to Aaron Hicks - a five-tool prospect who has yet to see time above Double-A. While a level jump without touching Triple-A is less than ideal, Revere made the leap from New Britain in September 2010 and worked his way into the Twins lineup without sampling much time in Rochester. Hicks, 23, was drafted one year after Revere and will have the same amount of development time as Revere when he was forced into semi-regular duty in 2011.

Like Revere, Hicks has buckets of speed on the bases and in the field. Unlike Revere, Hicks has a howitzer for an arm. Last year, he recorded 10 outfield assists with New Britain. Revere had 18 throughout his entire six-year minor league experience. With the massive real estate in right-center field, the field staff knows they need someone with a legit arm.

Hicks also possess other tools at the plate that makes him a superior leadoff choice than Revere. A switch-hitter, Hicks has monk-like patience at the plate, registering a walk in almost 15% of his plate appearances. What’s more is that he has the occasional pop, able to gain multiple bases on a single swing of the bat.

From a development process perspective, allowing Hicks an additional year to hone his craft at Rochester while keeping his arbitration clock from starting would be the most desired scenario. By all accounts, Revere is a hard-worker with three strong skills. Still, the Twins need starting pitching beyond just this season and Hicks can certainly learn on the job. If trading Revere would bring back a cost-controlled starter, the organization needs to seriously consider pulling the trigger.
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  1. ScottyB's Avatar
    Coming into this off-season, Terry Ryan said multiple times that everyone was on the table. He's now hedging his bets on next season in an interview with Phil Mackey - in other words 'don't expect much, I'm not spending a lot of money'. As long as we're throwing away 2013, let's build for 2014 and 2015. I liked Span, I like Revere, but I'd be willing to trade him away as well as Morneau and/or Willingham, if we could get some good starters who could be here by mid-2014. If Avisail Garcia can be playing regularly for the Tigers (a contender), Hicks and Arcia should be able to play just fine on a team building for the future. It might even draw more fans. Let the clock start ticking now, because down the road we can have Buxton and Kepler. If you could move all three for pitching, I'd be willing to take our lumps with an outfield of Hicks, Arcia and Benson, with Parmelee at first. It would actually be a much stronger defensive outfield than our current option (Willingham, Revere, Parmelee). As Ryan said, everyone should be on the table.
  2. beckmt's Avatar
    That means our focus should be younger pitching. No pitcher should be signed who is over 30 and should be younger. If this means trades and getting younger, so be it. It would be hard to less competitive than last year. Stockpile arms, that is how you make good trades for very good players.
    Twins need to move their young arms forward, faster than slower. Get as many of these types as possible.
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