Despite the recent acquisition of veteran slugger Mark Trumbo, the Seattle Mariners have reportedly shown interest in Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere. According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Mariners had a scout in Cincinnati to look at Revere during the Phillies’ series against the Reds earlier this week. Revere would provide a solid outfield glove, great speed, and much needed consistency at the top of a struggling Seattle Mariners lineup.
As of right now, these are just rumors, but the fact that the Mariners have supposedly scouted Revere is reason enough to speculate. That being said, let’s take a look at the current state of the M’s outfield, and what Ben Revere would bring to the table both defensively and offensively for the ball club.
So far in 2015, Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon’s outfield has been fluid to say the least. Rarely has the M’s second year skipper penciled in the same outfield two days in a row, mixing and matching between Dustin Ackley, Seth Smith, Rickie Weeks, Austin Jackson, Justin Ruggiano, Brad Miller, Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo. However, if I had to nail down the three guys that have been out there the most, it would be Seth Smith, Austin Jackson and Nelson Cruz, especially since the trade for Trumbo, who has been primarily DH’ing. As for the other guys, Dustin Ackley has seen more playing time recently with Cruz out for a few days, but has continued to struggle, Weeks has not started much in the last month, Ruggiano is now gone after being DFA’d, and Brad Miller is back where he should be at shortstop.
When you are last in runs scored in the American League, there are a lot of things going wrong offensively, but one of the biggest issues for the Mariners this year has been getting on base. Although they are fifth in the AL in home runs, the M’s have been rounding the bases alone far too frequently due to a team OBP of .297 and a team batting average of .236–last and second to last in the AL, respectively.
In his six seasons, the 27-year-old Ben Revere has compiled a career batting average of .289 and an on-base percentage of .323. The speedy outfielder also averaged over 36 stolen bases per season between 2011 and 2014, and has already swiped 12 bags in 60 games this season. This is yet another offensive category in which the Mariners could use improvement, coming in at 11th in the American League in stolen bases. Seems like the the kind of trade that the M’s should make, right? Wrong.
When Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik traded for Mark Trumbo following a Safeco Field sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees, it felt a bit like when I play a baseball video game. I lose one game, and I head to the “transactions” section of the menu and go to town. I might win the next game or two, but when I lose again, it’s time to overhaul the roster once more. Why do I do this? Because it’s fun, and because it’s a video game, and because I have nothing to lose. Don’t get me wrong, Ben Revere is a great player that would, on paper, be an improvement for the Seattle Mariners roster. But this is not a video game, and baseball is not played on paper.
May 29, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Seth Smith (right) celebrates with right fielder Nelson Cruz (left) after hitting a two-run home run against the Cleveland Indians during the sixth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The problem with this hypothetical trade is quite simple–there is nowhere to put Ben Revere on the Mariners roster. With the addition of Mark Trumbo and his terrible defensive abilities, it seems that Nellie Cruz is going to continue to see a lot of time in right field, which is totally fine, as he has been much better there than many expected. Furthermore, first baseman Logan Morrison sure as heck isn’t going anywhere either, especially not after the 16 game hitting streak that he just reeled off. To finish off my point, Seth Smith, Nelson Cruz and Austin Jackson are three of only six Mariners with on-base percentages over .300. In fact, Cruz and Smith are number one and two on the squad, respectively. Jackson’s numbers are rising quickly after a rough start to the season, as he has posted a .344 OBP in his last 15 games. In addition, Cruz, Smith and Jackson are first, third and fourth on the team in batting average as well. So the question is, why would we acquire Ben Revere?
The answer is this: The Seattle Mariners are struggling, Jack Zduriencik does not know why, and behind his chubby, smiling face he is freaking out. At the beginning of 2015, Jack Z (and the rest of the league) expected the Mariners to be atop their division, and perhaps even atop the American League, but right now, they are not. They are not because Robinson Cano is slashing .238/.279/.328. They are not because their All-Star closer Fernando Rodney has blown three saves, has an ERA of 6.75, an opponents batting average of .304 and a WHIP of 1.74. They are not because Mike Zunino couldn’t make my old high school baseball team with his batting average of .165 and his literally unbelievable strikeout rate of 41 percent. Somewhere in the world, Ryan Howard is smiling.
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Seth Smith, Nelson Cruz, Austin Jackson, Logan Morrison and Mark Trumbo are NOT the reasons why the Seattle Mariners are 27-33 and 6.5 games behind the first place Houston Astros in the AL West. As intriguing of a player as Ben Revere is, the M’s have no reason to add a one year rental and $4 million to their payroll. More importantly, there is no reason to let go of more young talent in the farm system just for a guy that would probably end up being sucked into one of Lloyd’s platoon experiments, only to walk away after his contract expires at the end of the 2015 season. Even though Phillies GM Ruban Amaro Jr. has denied the rumors that he was asking for James Paxton or Taijuan Walker in exchange for Revere, the asking price for the former Minnesota Twin would surely still be quite high.
So, as much as I love to hear that Jacky Z and the M’s are trying to win now, this trade would not be in the best interest for the Seattle Mariners. I would much rather see us go after an offensive shortstop like Troy Tulowitzki, or heaven forbid, a catcher that is capable of laying off a low and away slider to fill in for Mike Zunino while he gets his bat figured out. If we do go ahead with this trade, it would be better to part with a guy like Seth Smith than to ship off more young talent, as Revere would at least have somewhere to play every day. Either way, I really hope that these are just rumors, and that Jack Zduriencik and the Mariners stay calm and don’t panic. I will remind you once again that this is a long season, and anything can happen over the course of 162 games, but believe me, the fans and writers are panicking enough for all of us.