Did the Phillies Fleece the Twins on the Ben Revere Trade?

Did the Phillies Fleece the Twins on the Ben Revere Trade?

The Phillies gave up two players – an 11-game winner and a prospect – to acquire Ben Revere, a shaky centerfielder with a .304 on-base percentage and zero power. Apparently in Minnesota that’s considered stealing.

Tom Powers, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, admits it’s a tad premature to pass final judgment on the swap that sent Revere to Philly in exchange for Vance Worley and prospects, but so far it looks like the Twins had their pockets picked. Worley has since sunk back to the minors, and Trevor May is still at Double A.

At least the Phillies are getting a lot of innings out of Revere, whose four-hit night against his former team on Thursday helped prevent the Fightins from being swept in that series. As of right now, the Twins have nothing to show for the move, nor the one that sent Denard Span to the Nationals for that matter.

Powers grieves:

Now it's possible, maybe even likely, that [Alex] Meyer and May become solid major league starters. And [Eric] Hicks could develop into an exceptional player. If, perchance, maybe, perhaps. But we have to be fair and give it time. However, it is fair to make short-term appraisals as long as we keep an eye on the long term. And, again, my short-term appraisal is: dreadful.

This wouldn't be so hard to take if Worley hadn't been such a disaster. The Opening Day starter, and touted as the linchpin of the rotation, Worley's earned-run average had ballooned to 7.21 before he got the boot to Rochester. Worley and May came over for Revere. Meyer was straight up for Span.

Worley could regain his form in the minors. We'll add him to the list of ifs and maybes. At some glorious juncture, all these guys could be up with the big club and making a splash.

But as it stands right now, and as short term as it may be, these trades rate a big "yuck." Of course, we'll check back later.

Unless Worley – 1-3 with a 4.74 ERA at Triple A this year – is never making it back to the Majors, Phillies fans might find it hard to describe the deal as a fleece job. Revere hasn’t been a disaster, but he’s a leadoff hitter who doesn’t get on base enough, an outfielder who misjudges fly balls and doesn’t have the arm to compensate.

He’s not exactly making folks forget about Shane Victorino.

That said, the Phils are definitely coming out on the winning end of the trade so far. Revere is still prone to defensive miscues, but his speed is a weapon for the starting lineup. Worley looks like a shell of the pitcher who was the second runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year in 2011, while May is an afterthought.

I suppose congratulations are in order for Ruben Amaro. It appears he may have successfully got one over on another GM – for now anyway.

>> Twins getting fleeced on offseason moves [Pioneer Press]

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.

Pete Mackanin maintains positive outlook even though Phillies now have worst record in majors

Pete Mackanin maintains positive outlook even though Phillies now have worst record in majors

BOX SCORE

On the surface, it might appear that the Phillies were done in by one bad inning on Wednesday night. After all, they suffered a 7-2 loss at Citizens Bank Park and the visiting Colorado Rockies scored all of their runs in one hellacious burst in the third inning (see Instant Replay).

But there was more to the loss than just one poor inning by starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. The Phillies came to the plate in nine innings against the Rockies pitchers and managed hits in only two of them while finishing the game with just three. It was the third time in the last four games — all losses — that the Phillies have mustered just three (expletive deleted) hits. Through the first seven innings in this one, they were out-hit, 11-1.

"Well, once again, three hits," manager Pete Mackanin said afterward. "Not a whole lot of good to talk about."

No, there wasn't. Hasn't been for a while. The Phillies have lost five in a row, 9 of 10 and 20 of their last 24 games. Wednesday night's loss left them with the worst record in the majors at 15-29.

"There's a lot of baseball left, and I know we're better than this," Mackanin said. "We just have to have some kind of spark to get out of it. Win a couple in a row and it could put us on a winning streak."

It's not going to be easy to start the winning streak in Thursday's series finale against Colorado. The Rockies have the best record in the National League at 31-17 and they have outscored the Phillies, 23-5, in the first three games of the series.

That's a serious beating.

"They have some really good hitters in that lineup and it's a deep lineup, too," Hellickson said. "There are no easy outs."

Conversely, there have been many easy outs in the Phillies' lineup in this series. The Phils did not get their first hit Wednesday night until Andrew Knapp singled with two outs in the fifth inning. The Rockies' starting pitchers in this series have held the Phils to two runs in 20 innings. And two of those pitchers were rookies, Jeff Hoffman and German Marquez. Tyler Chatwood pitched seven shutout innings Wednesday night.

The Phillies' starting pitching in the month of May has been brutal. Phillies starters have a 6.39 ERA in the month, second worst in baseball over that span.

The team is 4-17 in the month.

"It's been kind of surprising," Mackanin said of the rotation's problems this month. "I know they're better than that. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

Hellickson went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April. He's been a different pitcher in May. His ERA in the month is a hefty 7.30 in five starts. The difference in the months: Hellickson located his finesse repertoire down in the strike zone in April. He's been up in the zone in May. On Wednesday night, Rockies hitters fought off his middling fastball and didn't miss his soft stuff because it was up. Carlos Gonzalez had the big hit against Hellickson in the Rockies' seven-run third. He jumped out of his shoes to hack at a 2-1 changeup and hit it for a three-run home run.

"He had poor command of his changeup," Mackanin said. "He was yanking his changeup, not locating it. That's his out pitch. He didn't have it tonight.

"He's had a lot of good starts for us. When he doesn't locate, he gives up a run here or there, but he kind of gets it back. For that one inning, it fell apart on him."

Hellickson allowed eight baserunners on six hits and two walks in the Rockies' seven-run third inning. He gave up a double, a triple, a homer and three singles in the frame.

"I beat myself that inning by falling behind and walking too many," the pitcher said. "When I did make a good pitch, they found a way to get hits off those, too."

This is the third straight season that the Phillies have endured a 4-20 stretch.

"It's not easy," Hellickson said. "It's not fun. It's just something you deal with. It's not fun."

During this stretch, Mackanin has benched his cleanup hitter, Maikel Franco (see story). Otherwise, he has kept his sanity.

"I remember when I took over in '15, the team was scuffling, really not playing well," Mackanin said. "Then something clicked and we started beating teams. Last year, we had a good first part of the season and then kind of scuffled at the end. Sometimes one little thing clicks and you get better.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen. I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."