The Reds announced Sunday that they traded Phillips in exchange for pitchers Andrew McKirahan and Carlos Portuondo.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported Saturday that the Braves were "close" to getting Phillips. ESPN's Jim Bowden also noted Phillips will receive a no-trade clause from Atlanta, along with an assignment bonus.
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Zach Buchanan also reported the Reds are responsible for $13 million of Phillips' contract.
On Saturday, Phillips tweeted as rumors surfaced:
Phillips is under contract for 2017 at $14 million, but Cincinnati is in rebuilding mode in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, the National League Central. It has no realistic chance of catching the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates in the immediate future.
This isn't the first time the Reds have tried to trade the second baseman. Rosenthal noted Phillips "used his no-trade protection to thwart deals to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals" last offseason.
While he was a fan favorite for the Reds, Phillips is 35 years old. He did have the right to veto a trade as someone with 10 years of major league service, including five with the same team, but the chance to contend was likely appealing.
He posted a .291/.320/.416 slash line in 2016, although Buchanan reported he was dealing with a hairline fracture in his left hand.
Rosenthal said the Reds were looking to "increase the playing time of Jose Peraza, perhaps at the expense of longtime second baseman [Phillips]" before the deal. Peraza came to the Reds as part of the Todd Frazier trade.
Phillips had a bounce-back season in 2015 after a disappointing 2014 campaign. He hit .294 with 12 home runs, 70 RBI and 23 steals in 148 games, a drastic improvement from his .266 average with eight home runs, 51 RBI and two steals in 121 games the prior year.
Phillips is a three-time All-Star, and he won the 2011 Silver Slugger Award. He brings a solid combination of power and speed to the table, with 197 home runs and 198 stolen bases in his career. He reached the 30-30 plateau in the two statistics in a breakout 2007 campaign and was a force in the middle of the Reds lineup for three postseason squads.
The Braves are getting a guy who fills an immediate need at a point in the offseason when most of the valuable players are off the board.
Rosenthal reported Sean Rodriguez, whom the Braves signed in November to be their starting second baseman, will need shoulder surgery that is expected to keep him out for three to five months.
The Braves have spent their offseason acquiring veterans on short-term deals. Phillips joins a list of new Atlanta players that includes Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, Jaime Garcia and Kurt Suzuki, who only have guaranteed contracts through 2017.
Phillips is no longer the All-Star he was at his peak, but for a rebuilding team like the Braves, they just need a dependable starter who can get them through the year and who will hopefully be able to help groom a future star like shortstop Dansby Swanson.
While he will add some punch, Phillips is at his best in the field and is a four-time Gold Glove winner. He counts 55 total defensive runs saved above average during his career at second base, according to FanGraphs, and he routinely makes spectacular plays.