PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies filled their biggest need right before the winter meetings ended, acquiring center fielder Ben Revere from the Minnesota Twins for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Revere is expected to be Philadelphia’s answer in center. He batted .294 with 40 stolen bases in 124 games last season.
“Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The Phillies were seeking an everyday center fielder after trading two-time All-Star Shane Victorino last July. They pursued free agents B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan before turning to the trade route. Upton left Tampa Bay for a $75 million, five-year deal with Atlanta. Pagan got a $40 million, four-year deal to stay in San Francisco.
Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton drew Philadelphia’s interest. Both All-Stars are still free agents and expected to command significant contracts.
Desperate to improve their pitching, the Twins have traded two center fielders in a week. They sent Denard Span to Washington for minor league right-hander Alex Meyer. Before acquiring Worley, left-hander Scott Diamond was Minnesota’s only starter assured of a spot in the 2013 rotation.
Darin Mastroianni is expected to get a chance to start in center for the Twins He hit .252 in 163 at-bats last season. Aaron Hicks, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2008, could be the long-term solution. Hicks finished the season in Double-A, hitting .286 with 13 homers, 61 RBIs, 11 triples, 32 steals and a .384 on-base percentage in 129 games for the New Britain Rock Cats. Prospect Joe Benson also will be in the mix after an injury-ruined season in the minors.
“They had a lot of interest in a center fielder, and they had some pitching they were willing to give up,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.
Ryan acknowledged trading both Span and Revere was “a risk.” But he said Benson, Hicks and Mastroianni are all “pure center fielders” who are capable of handling the defensive part of the job.
“We don’t know quite yet about whether they’re ready offensively, but we’re going to find out,” Ryan said.
Bourn had a .261 average, .325 on-base percentage, 61 extra-base hits and stole 102 bases in his first two full seasons — both with the Astros. Revere had a .281 average, .322 on-base percentage, 33 extra-base hits and 74 steals in his first two full seasons. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is bat control. Bourn struck out 251 times to only 100 for Revere.
A former first-round pick by the Twins, Revere is a .278 career hitter with 64 RBIs in his two-plus seasons with Minnesota. He has zero home runs in the majors in 989 at-bats and only five in 2,573 professional at-bats.
Revere hit .314 against left-handed pitchers last year, had 37 infield hits and six triples. His eight outfield assists led the Twins. Revere made 126 career starts in center field, 84 in right field and 19 in left field.