Brandon Phillips has twice used his no-trade protection to block deals this offseason, and Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty hasn’t been talking to any other teams about acquiring the second baseman, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
“I haven’t had any discussions since the Arizona thing and he didn’t accept that one,” Jocketty said, indicating that talks with the Diamondbacks progressed far enough that Phillips was approached about waiving his 10-and-5 rights. This came on the heels of Phillips more publicly turning down an agreed-upon trade between the Reds and Nationals since he wanted a contract extension as a condition of accepting the deal. Washington and Arizona have both moved on by adding other middle infielders (Daniel Murphy and Jean Segura, respectively) so it’s unclear as to what market, if any, might remain for Phillips’ services.
Phillips, 34, hit .294/.328/.395 with 12 homers over 623 plate appearances for Cincinnati in 2015. While his numbers were modest as a whole and, as per his 96 wRC+, below league average, it still represented Phillips’ best offensive performance since 2012. Phillips also still showed defensive value at the keystone, with positive numbers in both Defensive Runs Saved (+5) and UZR/150 (+2.1).
While Phillips is still productive, he also turns 35 in June and is owed $27MM through the 2017 season. That contract has undoubtedly kept some teams from exploring trades, though it could be a moot point if Phillips is unwilling to waive his no-trade protection for anything less than another healthy financial commitment.
The Reds also may have Phillips’ eventual replacement on hand in Jose Peraza, though Reds manager Bryan Price is still planning to use the veteran as his everyday choice at the keystone. “Brandon, for me, is a second baseman of tremendous value and talent, it’s hard to just assign someone else that job. If Brandon’s with us, I expect him to be playing second base,” Price said. Both Price and Jocketty indicated that Peraza could see some playing time at shortstop or in the outfield as well as second this season.