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MLB Rumors: Brett Phillips Eyed by Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies After Rays OF DFA'd

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2022

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Multiple teams have reportedly expressed interest in outfielder Brett Phillips, who was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

According to NJ.com's Brendan Kuty, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies are among the teams known to have inquired about or shown interest in Phillips.

Phillips has spent parts of the past three seasons with the Rays as a reserve outfielder after previous stints with the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals.

Although Phillips has never been much of a hitter, he is known for his high-energy play, speed and solid defense in the outfield.

The 28-year-old veteran is a career .190 hitter and is hitting just .147 this season with five home runs, 14 RBI and seven stolen bases, but he enjoyed his most productive season in 2021.

Even though he hit just .206, Phillips set career highs with 13 homers, 44 RBI, 14 steals and 50 runs scored across 118 games.

Phillips has primarily played center field and right field, but he has seen some action in left field as well and is capable of playing all three outfield positions effectively, which adds to his value.

Per Baseball Reference, Phillips has made just two errors this season and has eight defensive runs saved above average in right field. Overall, Phillips has 38 defensive runs saved above average across all three outfield positions in his career.

Phillips is perhaps best known for his entertaining forays into pitching, as the Rays let him make relief appearances four times over the past two seasons when games were out of hand.

He posted a 16.20 ERA over five innings in those appearances, but made the highlights thanks to his eephus pitches and willingness to sprint off the mound in order to make plays defensively.

If a team acquires him, his value will come in the form of being a defensive replacement and pinch runner, which tends to be a key role late in the season and into the playoffs.

The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are all in the playoff race to varying degrees and could potentially benefit from a versatile player like Phillips.

New York has the best record in the American League and already addressed its outfield by acquiring All-Star Andrew Benintendi from the Royals. Bringing in Phillips would likely be incumbent on finding a team to take the struggling Joey Gallo at the deadline.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are three games out of a wild-card spot in the AL and the Phillies hold a one-game lead for the final wild-card spot in the NL.

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