Possibly the most obvious connection all offseason, Ben Revere has signed a 1 year 4 million dollar deal with the Angels with up to 2.25 million dollars in incentives. After being non tendered by the Nationals a month ago, the idea of Revere complementing Cameron Maybin as a 4th outfielder was an obvious match. With this move, the Angels are probably nearing in on completing their major offseason moves and will likely add a few pitchers to close out the offseason.
Revere, a career .285/.320/.342 hitter, had an atrocious 2016 season, by far his worst career season. Revere slashed .217/.260/.300 in 2016 and stole a career low 14 bases. It was an injury riddled season that saw Revere hit more weak fly balls than ever and land on the disabled list numerous times. The Angels aren’t acquiring Revere based on his 2016 merits, though. He only turns 29 next May and has an excellent history of making contact(9.3 K%), running the bases well(190 career stolen bases and 30.8 Baserunning Runs), and is roughly an average defender in left or right field. The defensive metrics are all over the place with Revere, as UZR likes him(+12.7) but Defensive Runs Saved doesn’t like him(-12). His numbers are much more favorable in the corners so as a left fielder, it’s feasible to see him be an above average defender there in 2017. Revere also fits the exact role that Billy Eppler envisioned in his 4th outfielder: left handed, fast, makes contact and plays good enough defense.
With Revere brought on board, the Angels are most likely finished with adding to the position players for the MLB roster. There has been a pretty clear message from Eppler on what types of players he wanted this offseason. With Ben Revere, Cameron Maybin, Danny Espinosa and Martin Maldonado brought on board, the Angels have drastically improved their defense and base running for 2017 while adding a little bit of offensive upside in the process. The team was already strong defensively but these moves put them amongst the elite defensive teams(Cubs, Royals, Giants) and the improvements on the bases will be huge, as the team was one of the worst in that regard in 2016.
Adding Ben Revere not only adds some nice depth to the bench and outfield in 2017 but he brings a speed dynamic that has been lacking in recent years. On a 1 year contract, there isn’t much downside and if he performs to career norms, he’s nice value and can potentially be used as a trade chip. Adding Revere on a 1 year deal means they have yet another player who will hit free agency next year(Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Ricky Nolasco, Yunel Escobar, Cameron Maybin, Danny Espinosa, Cliff Pennington). This gives the Angels payroll flexibility next offseason and also provides a backup plan to trade these guys in July if the team is out of it. It’s hard to dislike what Billy Eppler has done this offseason as he’s managed to improve the MLB roster without giving up any draft picks, dishing out multi year deals or giving up any of the big prospects the Angels have. With a few more pitchers added and a little luck(health wise and performance wise) in 2017, the Angels could find themselves in playoff contention late in the season.