Should the Cincinnati Reds Trade Brandon Phillips This Offseason?
The news started after the Reds early postseason exit and the firing of manager Dusty Baker. Now, the Reds appear to be shopping one of their best players and fan favorite Brandon Phillips (per MLBTradeRumors.com). The Reds also appear to have decided on a new manager with Bryan Price, the team's pitching coach since 2010.
The Phillips news comes as a slight shock since he's still owed $50 million on his contract through the 2017 season. Even though Phillips had a career-high 103 RBI this season, he only managed a .261 average and .310 on-base percentage, his worst since joining the Reds (per Baseball-Reference.com).
The Reds are in search of a leadership-driven player and Phillips might not fit the organization’s particular mold. However, trading Phillips could send the wrong message to the clubhouse and leave a black hole at second base.
Let’s go ahead and look at the pros and cons of Phillips being moved this offseason.
There’s really one significant issue with Phillips staying on the Reds' roster: his contract. The Reds would love to see some of that money Phillips is owed go toward resigning Shin-Soo Choo.
However, getting Choo to come back to Cincinnati will be the hardest task for the Reds this offseason. As a Scott Boras client, Choo will be looking for an absurd amount of money next season.
Boras wants an egregious $100 million-plus contract for the Korean outfielder, but Choo will likely fall under the nine-digit payday. On the other hand, Choo will not come cheap especially after San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence just landed $90 million at nearly the same age.
Freeing some of Phillips’ $50 million would certainly help the Reds make an admirable offer to Choo. While Phillips’ bat shouldn't be ignored—Choo is the better offensive player.
Another concern is the large amount of money going to arbitration eligible players this offseason. MLBTradeRumors.com projects $27.4 million could be handed out in next season in arbitration cases alone. The Reds might want to use more money on retaining a high-quality pitcher like Homer Bailey.
Lastly, moving Phillips could change the face of the Reds. Phillips has always been a favorite, but his recent outburst toward Cincinnati.com’s C. Trent Rosecrans proved he still lacks maturity (per CBSsports.com).
Despite Phillips’ controversial tirade, nothing has upset the Reds’ front office more than his public criticisms on his contract issued the year before (per Cincinnati Magazine). It's never a good sign when a player feels entitled to more and has four years remaining on their contract.
While Phillips is known for giving his honest opinion, the Reds might feel the club would do better without his controversy.
If the Reds trade Phillips from the team, then they’re losing possibly one of the best defensive players in the game. Cincinnati is spoiled with jaw-dropping plays from their second baseman and he’s helped form the Reds into a defensive-driven team.
It’s hard to imagine the Reds receiving anything near the quality of Phillips if he were traded. Even though Phillips lands around the middle of the pack in average and on-base percentage for NL second basemen, he still had an incredible .338 average with runners in scoring position (per MLB.com).
A lot was asked from Phillips this season when Ryan Ludwick went on the disabled list. Phillips rose to the occasion and put the weight on his shoulders in the cleanup role of the lineup.
Should the Reds trade Phillips?
Another huge factor to consider is the Reds would likely have to eat some of his contract. While making $50 million disappear seems nice, it’s extremely unlikely that the Reds could move a 32-year-old second baseman without sending some cash.
A recent rumor has the Atlanta Braves interested in obtaining Phillips in a trade for Dan Uggla. Even if a top-prospect were added to the mix, the Reds would be getting a player who has drastically declined in batting average over the last three years from .233 to .179.
Also, Uggla is owed $26 million over the next two years, which is possibly one of the worst remaining contracts for a team to own. Even if it could get the money freed up immediately to chase Choo, it would be a large downgrade both defensively and offensively.
The Reds could be in a much worse situation with their second basemen and there aren't quite as many positives to trading Phillips as there are negatives. While his contract still looks enormous, the Reds should expect his batting average to rise.
Phillips is in need of a steady year where he can hold a solid spot in the lineup. Hopefully Phillips returns healthy and it will certainly be interesting watching him with new manager Bryan Price.
Baker was always known as a player’s manager and it appears the Reds are looking for the opposite next season in Price. Phillips could be pressured by Price's new role to step up for his team.
Trading Phillips before he works with a new manager would be impractical. The Reds should work with what they've got and see if Phillips can improve in 2014.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?