9:01pm: While awaiting a decision from Phillips, the teams are still “working to finalize details,” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. Still, though, it seems the matter hinges on Phillips’s own decisionmaking, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted earlier.
7:00pm: The Angels and Braves are attempting to work out a deal that would send infielder Brandon Phillips to Los Angeles, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter link). Phillips, who was a late scratch from the lineup tonight, is considering right now whether to accept a deal, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. He can block trades to a dozen clubs; presumably, the Halos are one of them.
Since cutting ties with Danny Espinosa earlier in the year, the Angels have relied heavily upon Kaleb Cowart at second base. But Cowart is slashing just .233/.289/.411 over 99 plate appearances on the year and has struggled badly of late. Having already added Justin Upton earlier today, the Halos are understandably looking to further bolster their lineup by targeting an area where they can make a relatively significant improvement at a marginal cost.
Phillips, 36, came to Atlanta from the Reds over the winter. He’s earning $14MM this year, but Cincinnati is covering all but a million of that sum. With less than $200K left on the Braves’ share of the bill, Phillips is an affordable option — though he also would stand to take home a $500K assignment bonus under a clause negotiated when he approved the trade to the Braves.
There’s also now some added versatility for the long-time second baseman, who has seen action at the hot corner for the first time this year. While he’s no longer a premium defender at second, Phillips is still a sturdy gloveman there and has drawn good reviews during his limited action at third.
With his typical low-walk, high-contact approach, Phillips has posted a .291/.329/.423 batting line over 499 plate appearances, with 11 home runs and 10 steals. That’s right around the league average in terms of overall offensive productivity, just where Phillips has landed in each of the prior five campaigns.
All told, though Phillips is far from a top-end second baseman, he has been a steadily useful player. For a team like the Angels, who have quite an evident need at second base, he could be quite a handy addition down the stretch and into the postseason.