With such a weak free agent class this winter, you can bet that there will be some pretty notable names out on the trade market that could make their way to new homes. One name that popped up when the regular season came to an end, and has only been found more often floating around in rumors since the offseason officially began, is Brandon Phillips.
Despite his status as one of the very best second basemen in the bigs, the Cincinnati Reds are apparently looking to wash themselves clean of Phillips. There have been some reports that have already surfaced prior to the GM Meetings stating that he’s simply a goner. If the Reds are to make a deal, however, they certainly have less leverage than they’d like in order to maximize their return.
Phillips is as sure a thing as there is as far as the second base position is concerned. He’s not exactly a superstar, but he’s well rounded enough that pretty much every team in baseball, that isn’t already set at second, wants him in the mix from a performance standpoint. He’s a steady performer at the plate and we know what he does with the glove.
A perennial Gold Glove winner over there at second base, including taking home the award in 2013. From an offensive perspective, he’s averaged 20 home runs over the course of his career, including 18 in each of the last four seasons. His 162 game average featured a slash line of .271/.320/.429/.749. He’ll throw in a few swipes as well, but his five in 2013 were a career low.
While a team acquiring Phillips would certainly be getting a quality player, there is little leverage here for the Reds. It’s going to be extremely tough for them to maximize the return they would get for the star second baseman. That lack of leverage relates to a few different categories when discussing Phillips.
The first is the fact that it’s a known fact that he’s going to be dealt. Teams know they want him gone. There’s no reason to overpay when the Reds are the team that wants to run him out of town. He’s also going to be 33 next season and has another $50 million across four years remaining on his contract. There are also issues with his attitude, but in the clubhouse and publicly. That’s not exactly something someone wants to take on.
In the end, the Reds may very well end up dealing Brandon Phillips at some point over the course of the winter. But it isn’t going to be easy, especially if they hold on to their astronomical demands like they apparently already did when the New York Yankees came calling about him. Stay tuned.