Brandon Phillips Rumors

Royals Notes: Butler, Pitching, Chen, Santana, Phillips

The Royals were reportedly open to listening to offers for Billy Butler last month and several teams (including the Mariners) are interested in the slugger, but a Royals team official tells Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that a Butler trade is unlikely.  “Do the math. We’re looking to add offense," the official said.  "If we trade Butler, we’d have to add a lot of offense. It would have to be a series of moves to do that, and that’s hard to do. Plus, there’s just not that much available offense out there.”

Here's some more from Dutton…

  • The Royals are only looking to add one pitcher to their rotation this offseason, at most.  James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie have the first two spots and GM Dayton Moore hopes that the final two spots can be filled by the club's internal depth.  “To say we need to go out and get two guys…if it happens, great. But it’s not a necessity for us. We’d like to get one, but we want to get the right one for the right type of contract," Moore said.
  • While Moore wouldn't mind if young arms like Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Kyle Zimmer all won rotation spots, the club prefers a veteran starter.  "We've seen medicals on all of the guys…We're still trying to determine what pitchers out there will give us the least amount of risk," Moore said.  Dutton has cited Josh Johnson, Tim Hudson and Phil Hughes as Royals targets.
  • The Royals are still in contact with Bruce Chen, though they see the left-hander as a swingman more than a solid rotation fixture.
  • It seems as if Ervin Santana has priced himself out of the Royals' range, though Moore didn't close the door on a possible return for the free agent right-hander.  "Erv was a terrific pitcher for us, and we’re going to stay engaged. He’s agreed to stay engaged with us. We’ll see how it works. I hope he gets a great deal.”
  • Manager Ned Yost recently said that he and Moore had mentioned Brandon Phillips' name in discussions, though Dutton hears that such a trade would be unlikely.  Moore said “Second base is not a huge priority for us” earlier this week, and even with the Reds eating part of Phillips' contract, he would be a costly addition for the Royals.

Rosenthal On Wieters, Butler, Choo, Davis

Here's a look at the latest news from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..  

  • Major league sources say it's not a surprise that the Orioles are willing to deal Matt Wieters.  The bigger question is how Baltimore would reshape the roster if they made such a move.  The O's don't have much breathing room to spend, but Rosenthal suggests the Orioles could gain flexibility by moving the catcher and also closer Jim Johnson, who projects to earn $10.8MM through arbitration. The O's could then find cheaper alternatives at both positions and be aggressive on the open market. 
  • If the Royals sign Carlos Beltran or another right-handed slugger, they could afford to trade designated hitter Billy Butler, who is signed for $8MM in 2014 with a $12.5MM club option for ’15.  The Mariners are among the teams that covet Butler, a major league source tells Rosenthal.
  • The Reds haven’t given up on re-signing Shin-Soo Choo, but they probably would need to trade Brandon Phillips and possibly Homer Bailey to create the necessary room, sources say.  We've heard that Phillips is a likely a goner, but Bailey a more difficult call since losing him would require the Reds to move Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, unless they acquired another starter. All that might be too much to ask to accommodate the signing of a $100MM+ free agent, but they'd ideally like to have Choo back to give them another year before putting Billy Hamilton in center field. If they lose Choo, they likely would go with Hamilton and seek out a veteran complement in center.
  • The Mets appear likely to trade Ike Davis, who is drawing interest from a number of clubs.  Rosenthal also cautions not to be surprised if they move Daniel Murphy as well.
  • Opinions are split on Jacoby Ellsbury's value.  One rival exec's statistical analysis rated Ellsbury as the top Red Sox player last season, ahead of Dustin Pedroia.  Others in the industry, however, are wary of Ellsbury’s diminished power since he has hit only 13 home runs over the past two seasons.
  • One rival exec described the Rangers' infield logjam as an untenable situation.

Quick Hits: Kazmir, Royals, Rodney, Wilson

Adam Rubin of hears the Mets aren't considering a reunion with Scott Kazmir.  Earlier today, we heard that the Indians don't expect to hang on to the left-hander as he's likely to command a multi-year pact and they're not willing to go beyond one.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Royals manager Ned Yost told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (Twitter links) that his priorities are starting pitching and second base. Yost also indicated that Carlos Beltran, Brandon Phillips, and Ervin Santana have popped up in discussions.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti is scheduled to talk to agent Dan Lozano about two of his clients, closers Fernando Rodney and Brian Wilson, according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. Cleveland is looking into out-of-house closing options after parting ways with Chris Perez.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman says he's looking to add "400 innings" to the rotation this winter, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of
  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says he has scouted Masahiro Tanaka extensively and hopes to be in the mix for him, tweets's Jerry Crasnick.
  • If Carlos Ruiz really has a two-year, $20MM offer on the table, then he probably shouldn't let it sit for too long, opines MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter).
  • Nationals assistant GM and VP of player personnel Roy Clark has the club to take a job with the Dodgers, according to Keith Law of (on Twitter).

Central Notes: Bruce, Phillips, Arroyo, Johan

While Jay Bruce's agent, Matt Sosnick, said his client hasn't discussed an extension with the Reds, he didn't quash the idea either, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.  "Obviously, Jay loves playing in Cincinnati. He's made it clear in the past that all things equal, he'd like to finish his career there and certainly would be open to anything," said Sosnick.  While the Reds control Bruce through 2017 with three guaranteed years at $34.5MM and a team option for $13MM, the idea of a pre-emptive extension makes sense since the slugger will only be 30 upon hitting the open market.  Here's more out of the Central divisions..

  • Passan spoke to one exec who said that Brandon Phillips is as good as "gone" in Cincinnati.  Yesterday we learned that the Yankees made a preliminary inquiry on the second baseman, but it's possible that they're simply looking for leverage in talks with Robinson Cano.
  • The Twins have expressed interest in free agent pitchers Bronson Arroyo, Phil Hughes, and Jason Vargas, sources tell Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.  While the Twins have yet to make a formal offer to Arroyo, the interest appears to be mutual between the club and the 36-year-old.
  • The Twins have also called on Scott Kazmir and Johan Santana, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
  • Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network (video link) spoke with Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer about dealing with trade speculation and the possibility of hammering out an extension.
  • It might not have made a difference, but the Red Sox weren't showing any indication that they were ready to let Torey Lovullo go to the Cubs, according to Jon Heyman of (via Twitter).  The Cubs agreed not to poach personnel from the Red Sox after Theo Epstein left to take over their operations.

Yanks Made Preliminary Inquiry On Brandon Phillips

Preparing themselves in the event that Robinson Cano signs elsewhere, the Yankees have placed a preliminary call to the Reds on Brandon Phillipsreports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Cincinnati's asking price for Phillips is said to be "way too steep" according to Heyman.

Phillips, 32, batted .261/.310/.396 with 18 home runs this season but was involved in a pair of ugly PR incidents: one in which he publicly complained about how the Reds handled his contract negotiations and another in which went on a tirade against a Cincinnati reporter for pointing to his low on-base percentage. He is owed $50MM over the final four years of his six-year, $72.5MM contract.

Reports from this past weekend indicated that the Yankees made a similar preliminary inquiry on free agent Omar Infante. The Yankees are still considered the favorites to re-sign Cano this offseason, but it's not surprising to see GM Brian Cashman doing his homework in the event that another team swoops in and lands the All-Star second baseman.

Quick Hits: Chapman, Phillips, Butler, Tanaka

At today's news conference, new Reds skipper Bryan Price said that no decision has been made on whether Aroldis Chapman will be a starter or reliever going forward.  However, Price did say that pitchers "get better by throwing innings. I haven't changed that philosophy," according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that he's not shopping second baseman Brandon Phillips, but he stopped short of guaranteeing that he'll be with the club by the start of Spring Training, writes's Mark Sheldon.  "[Phillips] texted wanting to know if we were trading him. I told him that I have not spoken to anybody about that," Jocketty said. "I'm not talking to any clubs about him."  Earlier today, Charlie Wilmoth previewed the offseason ahead for Cincinnati.
  • The Royals are reportedly willing to listen on Billy Butler this winter, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes that GM Dayton Moore is always open-minded to all opportunities. 
  • The Dodgers scouted Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka three days ago and could become major players for him, tweets Mark Saxon of  The hurler is among the very best starting pitchers available on the open market this winter.

NL Notes: Cardinals, Phillips, Dodgers

With the Cardinals advancing to the World Series yet again,'s Tom Verducci writes that it is fair to expect more of the same in the future. Verducci says that the Adam Wainwright-Michael Wacha starting combo has been a younger version of the Diamondbacks' top-of-the-rotation duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling during that club's 2001 World Series run. Some of the Cards' top National League competitors, meanwhile, are already looking for ways to knock them off their perch:

  • The Braves could be interested in trading for Reds' second baseman Brandon Phillips if Cinci is amenable to taking on fellow keystoner Dan Uggla in the deal, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta would most likely need to part with a top prospect to make such a deal happen, according to O'Brien. We learned yesterday that the Redlegs were shopping their veteran second bagger. 
  • Meanwhile, after losing to St. Louis, the Dodgers face some significant questions about 2014, writes's Ken Gurnick. The club holds options over manager Don Mattingly, second baseman Mark Ellis, and lefty Chris Capuano. With Juan Uribe and Ricky Nolasco reaching free agency, third base and the back end of the starting rotation are question marks. And the pen and bench could also be reworked, according to Gurnick. Though we've already heard that the skipper will return, the remainder of the openings just noted could be filled in any number of ways.

Reds Shopping Brandon Phillips

The Reds decided a month ago that they will shop Brandon Phillips this winter and intend to trade him, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).  While there are several contending clubs with questions at second base to address this offseason, finding an attractive deal for Phillips could prove to be challenging.

Phillips, 32, is coming off of a down season and is owed $50MM through the 2017 season.  The second baseman slashed .261/.310/.396 in 606 plate appearances in 2013, down from his previous six seasons in Cincinnati where he hit .280/.329/.446.  Despite having a healthy amount of money left on his deal, Phillips openly complained about his contract earlier this year after the club re-upped Joey Votto with a ten-year, $225MM deal.

Teams with openings or potential openings at second base include the Dodgers, Yankees, and Orioles.

Reds Notes: Phillips, Baker, Perez

The Reds could deal second baseman Brandon Phillips this offseason, says Reds announcer Marty Brennaman (via MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone). With the firing of Dusty Baker, the Reds might be looking to give their team a makeover, and dealing Phillips would be the best way to clear payroll and acquire prospects, Brennaman says. Of course, it might be fair to question whether a 90-win team needs the kind of makeover that involves trading established players for prospects, or how easy it would be for the Reds to trade Phillips (who is 32, coming off a down season, and owed $50MM through 2017), for top-notch prospects in the first place. Here are more notes on the Reds' managerial opening.

  • The Reds would like to quickly fill their managerial vacancy,'s Mark Sheldon writes. Two candidates from within the organization will be pitching coach Bryan Price and Triple-A manager Jim Riggleman. Riggleman formerly managed the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals, compiling a 662-824 record. David Bell, who coached third base for the Cubs this season, might also be a possibility.
  • Reds players expressed surprise at Baker's departure, writes Sheldon. "It's obviously a bit shocking," says Jay Bruce. "I understand that it's a business, and when teams don't accomplish what's expected of them, there are changes, but any way you slice it, Dusty was an integral part of turning the organization around."
  • Astros bench coach Eduardo Perez is "intrigued" about the possibility of managing the Reds, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports. Perez is from Cincinnati, and his father Tony was a Reds great and briefly managed the team.

Central Notes: Peavy, Gallardo, K-Rod, Tigers, Pirates

The three most prominent starting pitcher trade candidates reside in baseball's Central divisions: Matt Garza (Cubs), Jake Peavy (White Sox), and Yovani Gallardo (Brewers). The latest on the Garza rumors can be found here while Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports at least a half dozen scouts, including ex-Cub GMs Jim Hendry (Yankees) and Ed Lynch (Blue Jays) were on hand to see Peavy's outing against the Braves last night. "There are a lot of eyes on me, period," Peavy said after allowing two earned runs on seven hits during his six-inning stint (96 pitches). "I was trying to win for (27,294 fans) who came to support us. Whatever the scouts see, they see. I love to play and I love to compete. I want to win, that's the bottom line." The bottom line with Gallardo, according to a tweet from ESPN's Jayson Stark, is not a lot of enthusiasm for what two executives called a "4-5 starter" despite tossing six and 1/3 shutout innings against the Marlins last night. Here's more from the Central:

  • The Tigers have made initial inquiries with the Padres about their relievers, sources tell's Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link). Morosi lists Huston Street and Luke Gregerson as possibilities. 
  • Both the Tigers and Red Sox are scouting Brewers' closer Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of
  • The Pirates' biggest need is another bat but they are also exploring the pitching market and seeking a bench upgrade, tweets Jim Bowden of
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel (Twitter link), "We know players we want and we know what we're willing to give up. We're willing to stretch lot on some guys, not so much others."
  • Huntington acknowledges he has the flexibility to add payroll "within reason," but would not elaborate, per a Biertempfel tweet.
  • The Pirates had lost three in a row and Huntington blamed their struggles on BABIP, tweets Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Pirates have also scuffled with runners in scoring position breaking an 0-for-29 drought with a pair of RBI singles this afternoon.
  • Brandon Phillips addressed the reaction to his recent comments in a Cincinnati Magazine article, which quoted him as saying the six-year, $72.5MM contract extension he signed with the Reds in 2012 was a "slap in the face" and that GM Walt Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini lied to him during the process. "Do I feel like they lied to me? If someone tells me they don’t have no money and you find $200 million somewhere, what does that sound like?" Phillips told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, referencing the ten-year, $225MM deal first baseman Joey Votto completed with the Reds about a week before his own deal was announced. "I’m very happy for Joey, don’t get me wrong," the second baseman added. "It was basically, if you think about it, I was saying I thought I wasn’t going to be a Cincinnati Red … if y’all want to take that to the negative way, be my guest, that doesn’t bother me."
  • While there has been a great deal of speculation about Justin Morneau and other Twins, rival executives haven’t sensed a big push from Minnesota to make deals, according to Buster Olney of (via Twitter).

Edward Creech contributed to this post.