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The Reds could trade Brandon Phillips this winter

Oct 18, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

Brandon Phillips Getty Images

John Fay — who doesn’t engage in wild speculation — reports that the Reds could shop second baseman Brandon Phillips this winter. He cites the Reds’ interest in Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero as one suggestion that they’re willing to move past Phillips. The second reason is more personal:

Phillips ticked off a lot of people in the organization with his behavior this year. Bob Castellini was the driving force behind Phillips signing. Phillips basically called Castellini a liar in the Cincinnati Magazine article … Phillips slapped the wrong guy in the face by saying that.

Given that offensive production was just average this year — Phillips was seventh in OPS among National League second basemen — the Reds could get similar offense for a lot less money.

Phillips has four years and $50 million on his contract and — RBIs notwithstanding — is coming off his worst offensive year in some time. So yes, they could get that offense for less money.  But who takes that offense — and that contract — from Cincy?

  1. chill1184 - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    I think the Reds would have to eat some of that money in order for a team to take Phillips but who knows

    • jm91rs - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      And that’s not going to happen. Heads should roll if they gave him an over-priced extension (or under market value according to him) and then decided to eat some money to get rid of him. He’s not a bad player, decent with the bat, great with the glove. I’d give it another year to see if he can turn around his average and on base percentage before giving up on him.

      • jm91rs - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        A maybe a coach that can keep him in check a little, Dusty’s reaction during that C Trent thing was a joke and showed just how little he influenced his team outside of setting up lineups.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Yeah, his defense is still really good. Combined with the offense he does provide (which isn’t really that good considering his home park), he is still a very useful player that does a lot of things to contribute to winning. At $12.5M per year, that deals isn’t bad at all for now….in a couple of years it might be, but right now, it isn’t.

        They probably wouldn’t have to eat much if they didn’t want much back in terms of prospects….but if they want a real prospect back, they’ll probably have to eat about a year of it.

  2. foodstamp69 - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    As long as they eat half the contract we’ll give u Rickie W
    eeks for him.

  3. pisano - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    The Yankees may have some interest, as it appears they might not let Cano hold them up for the hugh contract he’s going to be asking for. It wasn’t real smart of him to say publicly, ” no home town discounts” you may think that, but it’s not too smart to let the media know it.

    • fbrookman - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Who is Hugh, and why would Phillips want his contract?

      • pisano - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        Sorry for the typo, (huge) but I think you get the picture

    • jm91rs - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      How would Phillips’ personality play out in NY? He’s loved here, but I could see the NY media having an issue with a guy smiling after an 0-4 game. I bet he would love to play in a market that size though. He’s a me-first player most of the time(which is perfectly fine for a sport like baseball), and the more people there are to see him or talk about him, the more he will thrive.

  4. thomas844 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Statistically he didn’t have the best offensive season, but he hit well in clutch situations (11/17 with the bases loaded) and shows a lot of pop, which is rare for a second baseman. Oh yeah, and he’s one of the best, if not the best, defensive 2B in the game, so there’s that, too. I’m sure teams will be interested, but I’m not sure the Reds will end up giving him up.

    • jm91rs - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Oh man, you used the magic word. Get ready for some people to start yelling at you.

      • thomas844 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        Lol, I know right? Time to dive under a bunker. Still, to those who hate that word, it’s hard to deny what Phillips did with runners on base this year.

    • chiadam - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Clutch does not exist unless you have a manual transmission in your car.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        Clutch hits exist….but being clutch as a reapeatable skill does not. It is generally confirmation bias narrative….how Ortiz is considered uber clutch, but has only 1 bloop single and a HR in 5 games vs Detroit. So the narrative is that he’s clutch because of the GS HR, but he’s 1 for 18 in the rest of the series….I guess those other ABs just weren’t in clutch enough situations.

      • irishjackmp - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        If you believe that there is no such thing as clutch then you obviously never watched Curt Schilling pitch in the playoffs.

  5. fbrookman - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    He is a gamble in many ways.

    The Cardinals would love to have his talent, but his presence in the clubhouse would be a detriment. There aren’t many managers out there who would tolerate his antics as Dusty did.

    I would expect the Reds to ask a high price as well. Personally, I wouldn’t give up a young prospect with marginal talent in exchange.

    • jm91rs - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      Most teams would love his glove talent, and if he could be coached on approach he might become a more consistent hitter. I think a manager with even a slight grip on the team would be enough to keep his personality from being a problem in the locker room. The tweets, the crazy interviews after games, those are all unrelated to the field of play and I can’t see any manager trying to stifle his personality outside of the locker room.

      • joshfrancis50 - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        “Coaching” a 32 year old player with BPs ego to change his approach may not play out so well.

      • jm91rs - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        Maybe not with the Reds, where he’s been a fixture for a long time, but maybe if he went somewhere else he’d give in to some coaching to try and fit in.

    • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      The Cardinals don’t need him though. They have a better and younger 2B already and they have a good 2B prospect that is ready to give the majors a try next year.

      • gostlcards5 - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        Well (this playoffs and last year’s not withstanding”, they could theoretically shop Freese, who has not hit well this year (I’m thinking .250-ish for the season and probably worse in the playoffs). Then, they could move Matt Carpenter to 3B and bring in Phillips.

        Not that I want him. I think his attitude isn’t the greatest, although he has actually swayed me at times this year from thinking he’s a total jackwagon (yes, I’m cleaning up my language, because I didn’t use my favorite word to describe BP).

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        They could….but if they did that it would be to make room for Wong, not to bring in Phillips.

        I don’t think they would get much for Freese if they shopped him around. If his arbitration figure isn’t projected to be too high, they could keep him for a bench bat and flexibility….but he isn’t likely to bring much if anything in trade based on his age, physical and performance decline, injury history, and likely arbitration figure.

      • gostlcards5 - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        But BP would clearly benefit from hitting in the Cardinals lineup….(see: Carlos Beltran).

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        No, he wouldn’t. There is no evidence that hitters become better by hitting in different lineups…yes, it has been evaluated a lot…no, no one has ever found any evidence that who hits around you affects your own ability or production….which is why anyone that has evaluated “protection” in a lineup says it is hogwash. He would actually be hurt severely by not getting to hit in the Cinci home park anymore.

      • gostlcards5 - Oct 18, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        Agree on the Freese point…sorry, poor senile me. Forgot about Kolten Wang.

        When you say there’s no evidence about hitting in a better lineup, what are you basing that on? Advanced sabermetrics? Something else? (Note, I’m not asking to be a wisen-heimer, merely because I’m at work and both unable and too lazy at the current time to investigate myself! :) )

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Different people from different places have looked at player performance and looked for correlations between their performance and those around them in the lineup to determine if hitting in front of or behind different types of hitters affected production. It doesn’t. The only differences are that in a really weak lineup with one great hitter, the great hitter will be given a lot less to hit so he’ll walk more and a guy batting in front of the pitcher will walk more.

  6. Marc - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Phillips’ 10 and 5 rights kick in after the non-waiver trade deadline in 2014 (somewhere near the end of August’s waiver deadline is when he acquires those rights). So if they don’t find a suitor this winter, they have a few more months until things get complicated. That is, ya know, if they do actually want to trade him……….

  7. Uncle Charlie - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    A few years ago, easy trade. Now the Reds are stuck with that contract, $50mil for a sharply declining bat, yikes.

  8. vincentbojackson - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    The guy is one of the best, if not the best defensive second basemen in baseball. He’s also a fan favorite who goes out of his way to interact with fans before games and out in the community like nobody else. That being said, he had some big mis-steps with the media this year that left people in Cincinnati scratching their heads. Calling out the owner was the most disappointing. Fans don’t want to hear you complain and rip a guy that just gave you $50 million.

    As for blowing up at the local media, that too was disappointing but I chalked that up to frustration stemming from his troubles at the plate.

    Bottom line is, he’s a big talent and a big personality. He’s just apparently not always the happy go lucky guy he portrays himself as on the field.

    There’s no way the Reds are going to give him away, but no doubt they will listen to any offers that came their way.

    • thiruc - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      vincentbojackson, he may have been “one of the best” but not anymore. Age has a way of weakening. And in today’s professional sports, the question often asked is “what have you done for me lately”. Sad, but true.

      • jm91rs - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        Defensively he’s still one of the best. He gets to things no one else does. I always wondered why he wasn’t playing short though, as bad as the reds have been at that position in the past.

    • contraryguy - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Maybe it’s just an off-year, but he was 5th in the NL in 2B fielding and booted some routine balls. GIDP count is routinely in the top 10, and this year BP stole 5 of 8 SB attempts. EIGHT attempts in 666 plate appearances. Billy Hamilton stole 4 bases in one friggin game. The Reds need fresh legs and BP doesn’t have them.

      Big personality? Big head. And what’s up with his one day ‘paternity leave’ during the season? He’s not going to have his head in the game if he’s trying to be baseball’s Travis Henry.

  9. congratsyouareanidiot - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Philips for Howard, straight up. Phils pay the difference between contracts for next 4 years.

    • Marc - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Sure, sounds awesome. So Votto would play second for the Reds and Utley would play first for Philly?

  10. thiruc - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    The long-term contract is the problem for all professional sports. There should be a clause that if a player does not perform as expected in any season, the contract would be null and void. The challenge would be how to define “perform as expected”.

    In any case, it is insane to enter into a long-term contract without some performance-based criterion. No wonder the cost is spiraling upwards.

  11. metalhead65 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    and washed up ex card would walt get to replace him? it is not Phillips fault baker put him in the cleanup spot where it was his job to drive in runs and he did. I think he played most of the season injured myself since his average plummeted and never really got back on track after being hit in the forearm by the pirates in June. he was batting.300 before the pirates decided to show how tough they were and hit him for no apparent reason other than they could. besides his rbi’s there is the matter of his gold glove defense to consider to. is it worth giving that up in exchange for a higher batting average? I think he will rebound average wise this year with a new manager smart enough to bat high up in the order injuries in the lineup or not. but then you stat geeks will be on him because his rbi’s will be down.

    • emdash01 - Oct 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Stat geeks will almost certainly not start trashing him because of a lack of RBIs.

      • drewy44 - Oct 18, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        I think his RBI stats are misleading. Considering he spent so much time in the 4 hole, with Votto and Choo’s incredible OBP stats, a better hitter would have had quite a bit more RBIs than BP stealing RBIs from Jay Bruce, who actually finished with more RBIs than BP hitting out of the 5 hole most of the season.

  12. cincinata - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Many people in Cinti. are big fans, but he is losing some of them. I started to turn from him after the Molina incident, seeing that he caused most of the hard feelings. To refresh, he called Cardinals some names and spouted his “hatred” for the team, after a game. He actually said he hated them. Then on the next day, he came to bat leading off the first, and tapped Molina on the shin guards and said how you doing or some such thing. Molina responded you are not a friend and don’t tap me again. So, just as any fool would do, Phillips tapped him again. Then Molina stepped up in his face and repeated that he didn’t appreciate his words etc. etc. and he is not to tap his shin guards again etc. Phillips thought he had every right to do it, and Molina objected, which ending in a bench clearing brawl and Cueto kicking the Cardinals back up catcher in the head with his spikes causing a concussion. Well, LaRue was a well liked ex-player in Cinti, and many of the people did not like it. Most of clear thinking people saw what really happened and knew Brandon was to blame for starting all of this. Many of the KOOL Aid drinkers here thought Molina was to blame for standing up for his teammates, however, most of us knew who started it. Since then, Phillips has not gotten better, but continues using his mouth instead of his talent which is considerable. So, I don’t know of any teams willing to take this guy on, and in fact Joe Morgan (close friend), advised him to cool it with the attitude even when he played in Cleveland, so evidently Phillips is back to his old habits.
    I will not be sorry to see him go, if they can find a reasonable replacement for the glove.

    • gostlcards5 - Oct 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      Well said, cinti. BP and Cueto are the only reasons (now that Dusty is gone) that I cannot force myself to like the Reds. A lot of their other players, I like a lot. (Not that it matters, since I am not a Cincy fan, :) although I do have a lot of truly fun banter with several Reds fans I know/work with, nothing in the way of animosity….I, and they, are really just not like that.)

      If not for those two guys, in my mind, they are really a likable group of guys, and true professionals.

      • mscxvd - Oct 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        exactly, most cards fans don’t hate Cincy they just don’t like a few of the guys on the team, before the incident i actually liked the reds!

  13. cincinata - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Did I say Kool Aid drinkers? See Metalhead above my comment.

    • metalhead65 - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      well unlike you most reds fans hate the cards and their we are so superior attitude. it was not always like that while the cars ran away with the division every year but then the reds started winning but according to st. larussa and carpenter it was not because the reds were good but because they cheated. Arroto wins and it was because he put something on the ball. carpenter loses against the reds and they are scuffing the balls and the grounds crew did something to the mound and his feelings were hurt because fireworks went off when they hit home runs. if a reds pitcher hits a cardinal batter he is throwing at him. never mind that when they whined about that it was the worst possible thing a reds pitcher could do at the time. but if their guys hit a red it was just part of the game. Phillips got tired of hearing their whining and said what everybody was thinking. he tapped molina without thinking he would start a fight over it but he was not going to back down either. 3 years later and those classy cards fans can’t let it go. it would have been over if carpenter had not jumped in and restarted it. as for Cuteo when you have him pinned up against the backstop sorry anything goes.he did not just decide to kick larue and give him a concussion. it wasn’t his first of his career and it’s not like he was a vital piece to the cards so stop trying to make a career backup and .200 hitter into some kind of martyr. maybe he should not have joined the fight. so yeah if that is drinking kool aid I am proud of it and my team. reds fans that I know do not share cincinata view..

  14. junglerat524 - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    This story is over a week old now. Mark Twain was right.

  15. mscxvd - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I could see him going to LAD he’d be an upgrade to ellis and LA sure doesnt seem to mind dishing out the cash. It would be interesting how Phillips and puig would get a long…

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