Brandon Phillips Rumors
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 CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The Cubs agreed not to poach personnel from the Red Sox after Theo Epstein left to take over their operations.
Preparing themselves in the event that Robinson Cano signs elsewhere, the Yankees have placed a preliminary call to the Reds on Brandon Phillips, reports 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.
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 MLB.com'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 ESPNLosAngeles.com. The hurler is among the very best starting pitchers available on the open market this winter.
With the Cardinals advancing to the World Series yet again, SI.com'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 MLB.com'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.
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.
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, MLB.com'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.
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 FOXSports.com'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 FOXSports.com.
- The Pirates' biggest need is another bat but they are also exploring the pitching market and seeking a bench upgrade, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com.
- 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 ESPN.com (via Twitter).
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
It’s no secret that Reds GM Walt Jocketty intends to upgrade the Cincinnati outfield this offseason. Jocketty addressed his search for outfield help and other Reds-related questions in a conversation with MLBTR at the GM Meetings in Indian Wells, California. Here are the details.
- Jocketty said the Reds hope to re-sign Ryan Ludwick this winter. “We’ve made some progress, but it’ll probably take another week or two before we know where we’re at,” the GM said. “
- Ideally the Reds would like to add a leadoff hitter. Whether the newcomer plays center or left field has yet to be determined.
- The Reds view Aroldis Chapman as a starting pitcher long-term and they could make him a starter in 2013 if they acquire a free agent reliever. “If we re-sign Ryan Madson or [Jonathan] Broxton or someone else it would allow us to move Chapman to the rotation,” Jocketty said. Pitching coach Bryan Price feels strongly that Chapman can become a top of the rotation starter.
- Signing Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the spring helped the Reds focus on other needs this offseason, the GM said. “That was important for us to do, for sure.”
Angels right-hander Michael Kohn will have Tommy John surgery tomorrow and will miss the season according to Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). Here are some assorted links for Wednesday...
- The Rangers recently met with Mike Moye, agent for Josh Hamilton, but the two sides didn't get too deep into contract extension talks according to Jeff Wilson of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- The Twins hope to replace Scott Baker internally, but there's a chance he might not pitch for them again according to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger (Twitter links). Baker will miss the year with elbow surgery and the team holds a $9MM option for next season.
- Talks between the Reds and Brandon Phillips about a contract extension started last March according to ESPN's Jim Bowden. Phillips' agreed to a new deal this week.
- The Tigers have some hope that Victor Martinez will return late this season, according to Tom Gage of the Detroit News (Twitter links). The switch-hitting DH didn't need ACL reconstruction on his injured knee, and may return before the season's up. The Tigers won't know whether Martinez can play until they get MRI results in July.
- Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres reports that Padres owner John Moores initially sought $600MM for the team in 2008 and explains why it may sell for more this time around. The Padres are up for sale again, Moores announced yesterday.
- Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the year-by-year breakdown for Ian Kinsler’s recent contract extension (Twitter link). The Rangers have a $10MM option for 2018 with a $5MM buyout.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that most teams believe Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton is the best prospect available in this year's amateur draft. There's a growing sense the Astros don't want to make a risky pick, yet there's no obvious second choice behind Buxton.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Reds announced that they have agreed to extend second baseman Brandon Phillips through 2017. The ACES client will earn $72.5MM over the course of his new six-year contract, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio.
Phillips would have been eligible for free agency following the 2012 season if the Reds hadn't locked him up. Instead, he'll be in Cincinnati through his age-36 season.
Phillips, now 30, posted a .300/.353/.457 line with 18 home runs and 38 doubles in 675 plate appearances last year. He won his third Gold Glove in 2011, and advanced assessments of his fielding confirm he is a strong defender.
The Expos selected Phillips in the second round of the 1999 draft and sent him to Cleveland along with Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon in 2002. Phillips didn't emerge as a star until the Indians traded him to Cincinnati four years later.
The Rangers agreed to a five-year, $75MM extension with second baseman Ian Kinsler last night. Both Kinsler and Phillips approached Chase Utley's record $85MM contract for second basemen without establishing a new record. That challenge falls to Robinson Cano of the Yankees.
Bowden first reported the agreement and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added detail. Photo courtesy of US Presswire.