When the Atlanta Braves won the B.J. Upton sweepstakes, outbidding their division rivals, there was pause in Philadelphia. When the first two days of baseball's winter meetings saw Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino also come off the free agent market, pause turned to panic.
Who would the Phillies find to fill their center field void?
Shortly after the Phillies brass departed the premises of the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, the wait was over. Rather than hitting the free agent market, where they still could have plucked former Phillie Michael Bourn for the job, the Phillies found a trade partner in the Minnesota Twins.
The Phils dealt starting pitcher Vance Worley and right-handed prospect Trevor May to the Twins in exchange for center fielder Ben Revere. The 24-year-old Revere, known for defense and speed, gives an aging Phillies team something they have sorely lacked: a young, productive and controllable position player.
Revere, who hit .294 with 40 stolen bases in his second full big-league season in 2012, can't become a free agent until 2018.
"For us, it was about the defense and the speed," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of Revere. "We like athletic players, and he's certainly that. He has great energy, a fantastic defender. And those are priorities for us."
An added bonus to opting for a trade for Revere rather than hitting the free agent market: The Phillies have the resources to take that money and find a power-hitting corner outfielder or third baseman. Prior to the consummation of the Revere deal, the Phils were reportedly on the verge of adding veteran Texas third baseman Michael Young to man third base, but the Young trade could not be completed as he pondered whether to waive his no-trade clause.
Regardless, the Revere trade could enable the Phils to enter the market for another big outfield bat. The team entered the offseason without a legitimate, everyday, major league outfielder.
"We still have plenty of flexibility monetarily to try to piece the rest of this thing together," Amaro said.
The trade did create a hole in the rotation, where Worley was in line to be the team's fourth or fifth starter. However, the Phils could find a starter internally, with Tyler Cloyd and prospect Jonathan Pettibone leading the list of candidates.
What the Phillies don't have to worry about anymore is having someone to take over a position that's been a question mark since they dealt Shane Victorino to the Dodgers at the trade deadline in July.