The Toronto Blue Jays continued their deadline blitz by acquiring center fielder Ben Revere from the Phillies. Revere joins a talented and crowded group of outfielders in Toronto. Kevin Pillar, who has played 85 games in center for the Jays this year, is a right-handed hitter, paving the way for a possible platoon arrangement as Revere boasts just a .560 OPS against lefties this season.
To acquire the speedy Revere, the Blue Jays continued to shell out talent from their deep farm system. Here is a look at a pair of talented Dominican arms joining the Philadelphia system.
RHP Alberto Tirado
This is the headliner in the return for me. Rated by our own John Sickels as a C+ prospect entering the season, Tirado was among the highest ceiling arms remaining in the Toronto system after their recent deals for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. Tirado works in the mid 90s, touching higher, to go along with a nasty slider and developing change.
Tirado burst onto the prospect scene following strong showings across two levels of Rookie Ball in 2012-2013. Evaluators noted his excellent stuff with some publications giving him ceiling grades as high as that of a #2 starter. Listed at 6'0", 180 pounds, Tirado lacks an ideal starter's frame, which has always led some scouts to project an eventual move to the bullpen.
2014 presented a new set of questions for Tirado as he struggled to find the strike zone with any consistency. Tirado began the season with Lansing in the Midwest League, but was demoted to the Northwest League after 13 appearances resulting in a 6.30 ERA and 40 strikeouts with 39 walks in 40 innings. Tirado salvaged the end of the season throwing 35.2 innings for Vancouver with a 3.53 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 28 walks.
Although Tirado has never been known for great control, 2014 was largely unexpected. As a result, Tirado's future role and ceiling were called into question heading into 2015. As John speculated in his pre-season report, Toronto shifted Tirado to the bullpen in High-A this year. He has responded with a 3.23 ERA over 61.1 innings. He has continued to miss bats (8.95 K/9) while recovering some of his lost control (5.14 BB/9).
Still just 20 years old, Tirado is intriguing property for the Phillies going forward. At the age equivalent of a college player, Philly fans can dream of Tirado putting the total package together and returning to the rotation at some point. Toronto adopted an interesting developmental strategy with Tirado this season. He has made six appearances of three or more innings despite not starting a game this year. While the control issues still keep Tirado from being an elite starting pitching prospect, his age combined with the ability to hold his own and miss bats against much older competition leaves hope that he might be able to give starting another try down the line. If not, he still profiles as a potential impact reliever.
RHP Jimmy Cordero
Cordero joins Tirado heading to Philadelphia. Unlike Tirado, there is no doubt that Cordero is a reliever. The 6'3", 215 pound right-hander began the season in High-A before a late-May promotion to Double-A New Hampshire. Between the two levels, Cordero has pitched 50 innings, recording a 2.70 ERA with 8.28 K/9 and 3.60 BB/9. Cordero can touch triple digits and finally appears to be making progress towards becoming a pitcher rather than a thrower. At 23 years old, he doesn't have much of a track record before 2015, but the fastball alone makes him a notable relief prospect.
Revere is under control through 2018, but is on the verge of becoming more expensive as he nears arbitration. The Phillies' course of action at the deadline signals a clear shift into rebuilding mode going forward. For a system lacking impact depth coming into the season, these additions along with those in the Cole Hamels trade, provide a much needed shot in the arm.
Evaluation of this trade on its own merits depends largely upon your opinion of Tirado at this point. Revere is a solid major league player, but lacks upside beyond what he already is. His value is tied completely to his speed, a dicey proposition for a player in his age 28 season. With his price tag trending upward, getting a couple power arms seems like a sensible move for a Phillies team whose next competitive window will not coincide with whatever is left of Revere's peak.