Shortly after the Reds bowed out of the Postseason, everyone's favorite curmudgeon Mary Brenneman said on WLW that the Reds were open to the idea of trading Brandon Phillips this offseason. Now, considering that Marty is generally not one to break major new stories, and WLW's penchant for trolling, I took this information with a healthy amount of skepticism.
Earlier this week, John Fay had a piece up saying Jocketty doubts the Reds could sign Cuban Alex Guererro. Then on Wednesday, Fay wrote that despite Jocketty's claim that the club probably won't sign Guererro, the fact that they are interested in him is a strong indication that the Reds are trying to rid themselves of BP.
And now today, we have this from Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
The #Reds decided a month ago that they will shop Brandon Phillips this winter w all intents to trade him— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 18, 2013
Fay cites the Cincinnati Magazine article with the famous "slap in the face" quote as the impetus for wanting to move Phillips, but there are plenty of baseball reasons to make a move as well. BP is under contract for 4 more years, and he is owed $50 million through his age 36 season. Among second basemen, he finished the 2013 season 12th in fWAR, 13th in SLG, 14th in OBP, and 14th in wOBA. Or to put it another way, he was just barely above average at the plate as far as second basemen go. The question then becomes, can the Reds get similar production from 2B for significantly less money?
Matt Klaassen at FanGraphs discusses Phillips' trade value, and lays out why the remainder of the contract is not an albatross. With the recent (and future) influx of cash that MLB teams are receiving, the value of a player win may be going up. Despite the down year, Steamer projects Phillips to be right around 3 wins next year, which would be above average for second base, and fair for the money he's owed. The question again: Can the Reds take money saved from a less expensive 2B, and add more wins elsewhere?
The Guererro idea is interesting, but risky. He is 26 years old, and has not played in Cuba since the 2011 season. Guererro supposedly turned down an offer from the Dodgers that was estimated to be in the neighborhood of 5 years/$32 million. With Boras now his agent, he is reportedly wanting only a four year deal to test the free agent market again at the age of 30. As a shortstop in Cuba, he should be acceptable defensively at second, while his greatest asset would be his power at the plate from the right side. Something that the Reds happen to need.
There has been a lot of piling on Brandon Phillips on Twitter since this news broke. Hopefully this situation gets resolved soon, because it seems to have a very real possibility of turning ugly. If the Reds aren't able to move him this offseason, I'm worried how Brandon will react next year. I'm also concerned that this information is being leaked by someone other than Jocketty, because this doesn't really seem to fit Walt's M.O., and that there could be a rift in the front office as well.
Be sure to check out badenjr's FanPost on Joey Votto.
Here's an interview with Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Waterson.
And finally, a baseball Haiku.