Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Should The Cincinnati Reds Trade Brandon Phillips?

The Cincinnati Reds are ready to make some changes this off season. We have already seen one change made by them in letting manager Dusty Baker go, not even a week after the season ended. The Reds have the talent to win games but they have a lot of money locked up in just a few players. One of those players is Brandon Phillips. Phillips is due $11 Million in 2014 at the age of 33. That is a lot of money for a player of his age. So should the Reds trade Phillips? YES and here is why.

The Reds owe Phillips a lot of money and they still need to try to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo. Choo was the catalyst of the Reds offense in 2013 and without him next season they could be in trouble. It won’t be easy to trade Phillips because of the money he’s owed but it is worth a shot. Also, Phillips won’t take a pay cut because he has already complained about the contract that he signed.

“To this day, I’m still hurt. Well, I don’t wanna say hurt. I’ll say scarred. I’m still scarred. It just sucks that it happened. For [Castellini] to sign somebody for $200 million, there must be a new vegetable or fruit coming out that we don’t know about. For him to do something like that and tell me they didn’t have any more money, that’s a lie. But what can I do? I just feel like it was a slap in my face.” – Brandon Phillips

Phillips has a lot of nerve to be complaining about his contract, with the amount of production he has given the Reds in recent years. Phillips’ defense is flawless but that doesn’t make up for his lack of offensive production. Phillips has hit .300 and had a .300 On Base Percentage once in his eight seasons in the Queen City. His OPS has also dropped each of the past four seasons. He will give you 18 home runs a season but as a second baseman he doesn’t attempt to steal nearly enough bases. He was put into the cleanup spot because of an injury, but that doesn’t take away his ability to run.

Of course I have to bring up his 100 RBI season. Yeah, it’s great and all but he had the fourth most at-bats with runners in scoring position. What do you expect when he has the two best on base players in the National League hitting in front of him? You could put Zack Cozart in the four spot and have a good chance of him having 85+ RBI with Joey Votto and Choo on base ahead of him. The game is now about On Base Percentage and that is not Phillips’ game. So in my opinion, it is time for someone new to play second base for the Reds.

Another reason they should trade him is Alexander Guerrero. Guerrero signed a contract with the Dodgers in July, but the contract was cancelled because he wasn’t cleared by the U.S Office of Foreign Assets Control. He has since been cleared and is going back out on the market looking for a contract over $30 Million. If the Reds trade Phillips they could sign Guerrero and still have money left over to re-sign Choo to a multi-year deal.

The final reason is hustle. At-bat after at-bat Phillips forgets how to hustle. It is the new cool way to play the game but it has gone too far. Phillips is all about “swag” and how he looks during each play. You could sit on your couch at home and predict where Phillips will get to on a ball to the short stop. It is absolutely pathetic. He takes two hard steps out of the box and sees it is fielded and stops. He doesn’t make it 60 feet on most occasions.

I was at Great American Ball Park and remember a play between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds. Brandon Phillips is at the plate and hits a hard ground ball at Jean Segura. Segura fields it cleanly so Phillips stops running. Well Segura loses his footing and falls down, but Phillips doesn’t notice. Segura was able to stand up and make a perfect throw and still nab Phillips by six feet. That is what gets under my skin. When plays like that happen, and then he has the guts to complain about money. Maybe if he would hustle every once in a while on the offensive side of the ball, he would get more money, until then he doesn’t deserve it.

So those are my reasons why Brandon Phillips should be wearing a different uniform in 2014. Feel free to put your insight in the comment section below on why or why not the Reds should trade Phillips this off season.

Tags: Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds

  • ntoni

    I think you underestimate the extent to which Brandon puts butts in the seats. He creates a defensive highlight in nearly every game, has a positive personality that people identify with, and is one of the reasons I take my kid to the ballpark. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. So, how do you measure that value to the team via Saber metrics?

    • Josh Bresser

      Darwin Barney also plays great defense. Does that mean he’s good?

      • Aaron Somers

        Defensively, yes. Offensively, not so much given Barney’s career .246/.293/.336 slash line. What you’re missing though, Josh, is that nobody here (be it in the article or in the comment that you replied to) is suggesting that anyone is good simply because their are sound defensively.

        ntoni’s assertion is that Phillips is entertaining – defensively and personally – and that is why he’s a fan. That is why he wants Phillips with the Reds moving forward. It’s that simple.

        • Josh Bresser

          The Reds don’t need to be paying the clearly-declining Phillips 12.5 million bucks a year to play good defense. They can find that cheap.

    • Ryan Ritchey

      I don’t underestimate that he brings fans to the ball park, but would fans still come if they don’t resign Choo and the Reds are a mediocre team? That’s debatable. I do understand your point though

  • Josh Bresser

    I would love to trade him. However, the fact that he’s been in a clear decline for three straight seasons and is owed 50 more million through his age 37 season will probably make a deal difficult- especially coming off of the worst full season of his career.

    In any deal, the Reds would have to either pay a lot of his contract, and/or not get much in return. Both options are undesirable. For as bad as he was offensively this year, he was still a great defensive player and (some) fans love him (I’m not one of those, but..)

    With those factors being put into consideration, I think it’s best they just hold on to him. Although, if someone like LA/NY comes along and offers to take his contract at full value, go for it.

    • Aaron Somers

      What metrics are you using to suggest that Phillips has been in decline over the past three seasons? Are you looking beyond his batting average and on base percentage?

      • Josh Bresser


        wRC+ has dropped from a peak of 122 in 2011, to 101 in 2012, to 91 in 2013.
        Vanilla wRC fell from 96 in 2011, to 76 in 2012, to 69 in 2013.
        Isolated power has dropped from .157 in 2011, to .148 in 2012, to .135 in 2013.
        Strikeout rate has risen from 12.6% in 2011, to 12.7% in 2012, to 14.7% in 2013.
        wOBA has fallen from a peak of .353 in 2011, to .325 in 2012, to .307 in 2013.
        wRAA fell from a peak of 19.9 in 2011, to 5 in 2012, to -3.6 in 2013.

        Ultimate Baserunning fell from 3.2 in 2011, to 1.9 in 2012, to 0.2 in 2013.
        WAR has fallen from a peak of 5.6 in 2011, to 3.7 in 2012, to 2.6 in 2013.

        Oh, and of course his average (.300–.281–.261), OBP (.353–.321–.310), and SLG (.457–.429–.396) have dropped off of a cliff over that span as well.

  • skidoomachzz .

    Dumb move, we reds fans love him.. There is almost more of his jerseys there then any other player. He has came threw in many games .. Why give up the best 2nd baseman in the game? I understand we are a small market team but having him on the team brings a new level of excitement. The bad thing about sports is that it’s came down to money instead of the enjoyment of a game..

    • Ryan Ritchey

      I wouldn’t call him the best second baseman in the game by any stretch of the imagination. He is more like 5th or 6th best at most in the National League and not even top ten in the Majors. I understand the fans love him but it isn’t about loving the players it is having the right players to win championships and Phillips isn’t that guy that the Reds need, in my opinion.

    • Steve O.

      To say “we Reds fan love him” isn’t completely true. Some Reds fans do love him, but I know of more than a few that do not love him.