Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said the 34-year-old Phillips blocked trades to the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the second baseman made no mention of that when asked on Wednesday, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
"If that's what he said, that's what he said. I can't really go off what people say," Phillips said of Jocketty. "I only know what I really do. I know what the Aces, I'm represented by them, told me. I'm happy to be representing [Cincinnati], I play for the fans and I play for my family."
He played well last season, hitting .294 with 12 home runs, 70 RBI and 23 stolen bases after coming in at .266 with eight home runs and 51 RBI in just 121 games in 2014.
Phillips said he is glad to be back with the Reds, per the AP: "The only thing I know is I'm still playing for the Reds. I'm happy to be here. Whatever you all heard, that's what you all really hear. I can't really speak on many things."
He also said not to believe the hype that the Reds will struggle for a third straight year:
What we can do is go out there and prove people wrong. I don't believe in the word rebuild and telling the city we're not going to win. Every major leaguer comes to spring training to try to win and try to get to the World Series. That's what our mission is to really do, no matter how young and how sorry people think we're going to really be.
The four-time Gold Glove winner said he is willing to help younger players as much as he can, including 21-year-old Jose Peraza, the former Los Angeles Dodger the team acquired specifically to replace him.
"I'm an open book," Phillips told the AP. "If you ask me a question, I'm going to tell you how it is. You might not like what I say but I'm a realist. Of course, I'm here to help out as much as I can."
Phillips is now in his 15th season in the majors, and his production is obviously not going to increase. However, his manager, Bryan Price, said the second-base position is his to lose, per Joe Danneman of Cincinnati's Fox 19 Now:
Bryan Price reiterated second base is Brandon Phillips' job. Will not be a platoon with Jose Peraza. Wants Peraza to play a lot of spots.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) February 23, 2016
Phillips' price tag is hefty at $27 million total over the next two years. But he does bring with him a veteran presence, and players like Peraza could greatly benefit from his experience. It might make sense to try to trade Phillips in the middle of next season before he becomes a free agent and going to a contending team appeals to him later in his career, but for now it appears he's ready to help Cincinnati win in 2016.