Quick Hits: Phillips, Olsen, Rangers, Greinke

The great Mickey Mantle announced his retirement on this day in 1969.  The Mick was coming off his worst of his 18 Major League seasons, a .237/.385/.398 performance in 1968.  While a .782 OPS would be a pretty decent performance for most mortals, it was well behind Mantle's .977 career OPS.  Mantle retired with 536 home runs, seven World Series rings and legendary status with both the Yankees and the sport as a whole.

Some news items…

  • Brandon Phillips wants to play for the Reds beyond his current contract, and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculates how much it might cost to keep Phillips in Cincinnati.  The club holds a $12MM team option on Phillips for 2012, and Fay thinks Phillips would have to accept less tham $12MM per season in a new deal.  Fay guesses Phillips will ask for a Dan Uggla-esque contract, while the Reds will try to sign him to a deal similar to Juan Uribe's pact with the Dodgers.  If I had to guess, I'd say the Reds' financial situation might make them hard-pressed to pick up Phillips' 2012 option, let alone give him another expensive, multiyear deal.  Another year of pennant contention and more fans in the Great American Ballpark would certainly change things, of course.
  • It came as news to Scott Olsen that Pirates GM Neal Huntington listed him as as a bullpen candidate if he doesn't make the rotation, reports Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy,” Olsen said. “They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it.”  Olsen's contract with Pittsburgh includes $3MM in incentives based on the number of starts that Olsen makes, so obviously Olsen has a stated interest in staying out of the bullpen.
  • The Rangers' payroll for 2011 will be almost 70% higher than it was in 2010, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
  • Zack Greinke says he "kind of had to play the bad guy" by requesting a trade from the Royals, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  "The way things were in Kansas City, if I hadn't done that, the fans would have been outraged if I was traded," Greinke said.  "The fans — I don't know why, but they really liked me."
  • Keith Law of ESPN.com lists six prospects who might be "this year's Mike Trout" and have a breakout minor league campaign.
  • One of Law's breakout candidates is Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos, a supplemental first-round pick (44th overall) for Detroit in 2010.  John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press talked to the 18-year-old about playing alongside his childhood hero, Miguel Cabrera.
  • The Cubs have already paid back the $3MM they owed Ryan Dempster in contract deferral payments, reports ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.

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19 Comments on "Quick Hits: Phillips, Olsen, Rangers, Greinke"

4 years 6 months ago

I think Phillips is vastly underrated. He’s put up 3-5 WAR every season he’s gotten a chance to play. Above average defense and he’s durable. He’s actually exceeded Uggla’s WAR over the last 4 years (15.1 vs. 14.8). I can’t help but think his bad attitude figures into this a bit.

I don’t think he’ll get Uggla money, but Uribe money would be a joke, and that option is a bargain in my eyes.

4 years 6 months ago

Anyone wanna list the other 5 from Law’s article? Only saw Singleton.

Todd Smith
4 years 6 months ago

Olsen is giving me Derek Bell flashbacks…

“Nobody told me I was in competition. If there is competition, somebody better let me know. If there is competition, they better eliminate me out of the race and go ahead and do what they’re going to do with me. … If it ain’t settled with me out there, then they can trade me. I ain’t going out there to hurt myself in spring training battling for a job. If it is [a competition], then I’m going into ‘Operation Shutdown’.”

4 years 5 months ago

I don’t think Olsen has a lot of room to complain here, but given the $3MM of incentives for starts, I can see why he might be taken aback by this. Clearly they should have addressed this issue when they negotiated his contract. Perhaps if Olsen thought the bullpen was a possibility, he’d have pushed for a contract with different incentives.

4 years 6 months ago

Keith Law is a piece if garbage.

ARod's Ring
4 years 6 months ago

if garbage what?

4 years 5 months ago

If garbage, then junk.

4 years 6 months ago

It’s pretty amazing to think about how Mickey Mantle did what he did, virtually on one leg for most of his career. I would take a healthy Mantle over any player in baseball history. Yeah, I said it.

4 years 6 months ago

Olsen’s -1.1 WAR in the past two seasons gives him a really good bargaining angle….

4 years 6 months ago

“The fans — I don’t know why, but they really liked me.”

I know why Zack cause you’re really really good

4 years 6 months ago

Plus, I think KC loves guys who are good and have a good head on their shoulders. People root for that, especially when they don’t have much else to root for.

And that’s not a diss at KC fans or the team (in case it can be taken that way), I remember in the 90’s when the Twins sucked and there wasn’t much to cheer about, but certain players. When guys like Greinke come around it makes it less sucky.

4 years 5 months ago

“The fans — I don’t know why, but they really liked me.” – Greinke

That quote seems a little odd. Obviously the fans liked him since he was a good pitcher for KC and a good guy as well.

4 years 5 months ago

Greinke’s press comments just keep getting better and better.

Jays All The Way
4 years 5 months ago

Can somebody with espn insider tell me who the other 5 prospects are other than singleton, I was just wondering because in my league we can keep a certain number of prospects

4 years 5 months ago

Uggla was over payed in my opinion but BP deserves that money if Uggla does:
Brandon Phillips vs Dan Uggla
Lifetime BA – BP: .267 vs Uggla: .263
Lifetime fielding % – BP: .986 vs Uggla: .980
Errors ’08-’10 – Phillips: 19 vs Uggla: 47
Lifetime Stolen Bases – Phillips: 125 Thrown Out 48 vs Uggla: 19 Thrown Out 14


4 years 5 months ago

Uggla has had 4 straight seasons of 30 or more bombs. The one year he didn’t have 30, he had 27 bombs and a .286 batting average. He is paid perfectly. I’d pay 12.5 mil a season for .275/30/90-100.

East Coast Bias
4 years 6 months ago

I think he’ll get more.

4 years 5 months ago

Phillips is the best 2B in the game… just ask him.

4 years 5 months ago

I agree. Phillips play much better defense than Weeks and is just as good with the bat if not better. I’d say you meet in the middle between Uggla and Weeks and you would have a fair contract for Phillips. Would the Reds be able to afford that is another story.