Finding a quality second baseman is no easy task in Major League Baseball these days, but if the Cincinnati Reds can strike a deal that will make them better next season, they are willing to move All-Star Brandon Phillips, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Sources: #Reds' Phillips definitely in play. Team will move him if it improves club in '14.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
Later in the day Jon Heyman of CBS Sports confirmed the Reds offered up Phillips in a trade:
NL source: before yanks turned down phillips-for-gardner bid, phillips asked to re-open his contract (add $) to agree to deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 12, 2013
Phillips has been one of the best second basemen in baseball over the past eight seasons, and it is likely that teams are lining up to make an offer for the 32-year-old veteran.
Although Phillips has been a big part of the Reds' success in recent years, they have failed to advance in the playoffs. It's likely that a shakeup of some kind is needed in order to reach the next level, and trading Phillips would definitely be a franchise-changing move.
In terms of his resume, there aren't many second basemen in the league who can hold a candle to Phillips. He is a three-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner and arguably the most complete player at the position in the league.
Phillips has every tool that teams look for in a middle infielder. His career batting average of .271 is solid, he has hit at least 17 home runs in eight straight seasons and he is coming off the first 100-RBI campaign of his career. His stolen-base total dropped to just five in 2013, but he had stolen 14 or more bases in each of the seven years preceding that, so he can run a little bit as well.
In addition, Phillips has a great deal of versatility. He can hit near the top of the order due to his ability to get on base, but he is also a run-producer who can thrive in the middle of the order, which means he can fit in essentially any lineup.
If the Reds do decide to trade him, it will be a departure from the signals that the team has been sending out in recent weeks. There has been plenty of talk about Phillips being on the market, but Reds general manager Walt Jocketty shot the rumors down, according to MLB Network Radio.
Jocketty on Brandon Phillips: "I talked to him yesterday, I told him that we are not in any talks to trade him, we're a better team w/ him"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 4, 2013
A number of teams would potentially provide a great fit for Phillips. According to Adam Schein of SNY, the New York Mets are a team that could really use his services.
If the Mets want him, though, they will certainly have to pony up as they'll have plenty of competition. The Reds could very well hang onto Phillips and make the playoffs again in 2014, but it never hurts to shop an asset around.
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