Was Revere’s rough year an anomaly or should Nats move on?

As we transition into offseason mode here, we’re reviewing each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Ben Revere, who was acquired to be the club’s center fielder and leadoff man but wound up losing his starting job by late-summer.

PLAYER REVIEW: BEN REVERE

Age on opening day 2017: 28

How acquired: Acquired from Blue Jays for Drew Storen, January 2016

MLB service time: 5 years, 149 days

2016 salary: $6.25 million

Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2017, free agent in 2018

2016 stats: 103 G, 375 PA, 350 AB, 44 R, 76 H, 9 2B, 7 3B, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 14 SB, 5 CS, 18 BB, 34 SO, .217 AVG, .260 OBP, .300 SLG, .560 OPS, -1.2 WAR

Quotable: “It’s tough to come back from that. You tear a muscle, and it’s going to take a while for it to heal up. And we go every day, playing every single day, so it gets tight every now and then. I know guys that have done it, and they say it’s tough to come back that year from an oblique injury, their swings were just different. But it’s a lot easier the next year, because they had time in the offseason to let it heal.” - Ben Revere

2016 analysis: When Denard Span signed a three-year deal with the Giants last winter, the Nationals found themselves once again in search of something that has eluded them since they arrived in town a dozen years ago: a leadoff-hitting center fielder. In Ben Revere, they hoped to adequately fill that void.

Ben-Revere-blue-sidebar.jpgRevere’s career in D.C., got off to a ragged start right from the get-go. He strained his right oblique muscle on his very first swing on opening day and wound up on the disabled list. When he returned a month later, he struggled to get himself going at the plate.

Revere hit .170 with a .225 on-base percentage in May, and though he showed some improvement along the way, by the end of July he still sported a .211 batting average and .260 on-base percentage. With Trea Turner raking at Triple-A Syracuse and learning how to play center field on the fly, the Nationals made the switch and sent Revere to the bench.

He remained there the rest of the season, starting only nine of the club’s last 45 games. And when it came time to assemble their postseason roster, the Nationals elected not to include Revere, leaving a spectator throughout the National League Division Series.

2017 outlook: The Nationals have a major decision to make with Revere this winter, and they essentially have three options:

1) They could decide to take a chance on his track record, trusting that this season was the anomaly after three straight years with a batting average of at least .305 and an on-base percentage of at least .325. If, as Revere believes, the oblique injury hampered him all season, he might well return to form in 2017.

2) They could decide to keep Revere, but as a fourth outfielder instead of a starter, using him as a left-handed backup to Turner (or someone else) in center field and Jayson Werth in left field.

3) They could decide to part ways with Revere, non-tendering him before the deadline in early December or seeking a trade. If they retain him, he is likely to make at least $6 million through arbitration, and that may be more than they’re willing to commit to someone coming off such a poor season.

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