As the Toronto Blue Jays try to remain competitive while addressing major holes in the lineup, might the return of Ben Revere make sense? Left-handed offence on the cheap, speed in abundance, and a replacement glove for the outfield
Revere was first acquired by the Blue Jays during the 2015 trade deadline makeover of the team, but then shipped to the Washington Nationals in the off-season for reliever Drew Storen. Neither player excelled in his new home, however, with Toronto eventually sending Storen to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Joaquin Benoit and Revere missing significant time in Washington due to injury. Both players are coming off poor performances.
On his career, Revere is a .285 hitter with a .320 on-base percentage. Revere’s 190 career stolen bases underscore a player who relies on his speed to make things happen – there isn’t a lot of power behind his bat. That’s fine, of course, for a player positioned at the top of the batting order: he’s there to set the proverbial table for the big bats.
If Revere’s career numbers look respectable from a distance, they look even better when you focus exclusively on his time in Toronto. Granted he was hitting at the top of a very special offence, and the sample size is relatively small at 56 games (excluding the post-season), but Revere hit .319 and had an OBP of .354 as a member of the Blue Jays. He provided a spark at the top of the batting order, and he genuinely seemed to bond with his teammates, especially Kevin Pillar in the outfield.
Revere isn’t a free agent until 2018, so the Blue Jays would have to reacquire his rights from the Nationals, but the cost shouldn’t be too high. Revere might work again in Toronto for some of the offensive reasons outlined above, but he would also add an inexpensive and controllable short-term piece as Mark Shapiro & Co. try to figure out the long-term look of the team.
Assuming Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders walk in the off-season, the Blue Jays could begin the 2017 season with an outfield composed of Melvin Upton Jr. in left field, Pillar in centre field, Revere in left field, and Ezequiel Carrera available off the bench as another left-handed bat.
Another offensive consideration in reacquiring Revere is the possibility of moving Josh Donaldson down to the third spot with Revere and Devon Travis hitting above him. Neither Revere nor Travis is known to walk much, but they bring a similar mentality to the plate, battling every pitch and using their speed to challenge the infield and steal the occasional hit. With the potential departures of Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the off-season, this would be one way of addressing the sudden power vacuum in Toronto: push the remaining power down while adding speed at the top.
Until the fates of Bautista and Encarnacion become known, we’re left guessing at what the Blue Jays’ lineup might look like next season. The return of Revere is one possibility – a possibility that would carry a relatively low cost while complementing the remaining power in Toronto without necessarily augmenting the potential losses of Bautista, Encarnacion, and Saunders.
The players, coaching staff, and management are already familiar with Revere, so his return would be easy to digest. What are your thoughts? How might the Blue Jays address the potential losses of Bautista and Saunders in the outfield, and Encarnacion in the No. 3 spot? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Keith Allison CC BY-SA 2.0
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