I keyboarded BP's Red Report prior to the 2013 season, too, and since he hasn't gone back in time and lived an alternate youth since that time, I've re-used much of what I had to say there for this edition. Never fear, the stats, charts, and totals have been updated, much to his career rate stats' chagrin.
#4 / Second Base / Cincinnati Reds
Jun 28, 1981
Brandon Emil Phillips, 33, was born June 28, 1981 in Raleigh, NC and attended Redan High School in Stone Mountain, GA. Redan has put 21 players into MLB systems, including younger brother P.J. Phillips, current Phillies OF Domonic Brown, one-time Louisville Bats IF Chris Nelson, and 2,000 hit club member Wally Joyner. Also hailing from Redan are former Atlanta Falcons WR Terrance Mathis, musician/producer Danger Mouse, Carmelo Anthony's wife La La, and Kevin Butler - who you may remember as the Chicago Bears kicker in Tecmo Bowl.
Phillips was a 2nd round pick in 1999 by the former Montreal Expos, taken 5 picks after the (Devil) Rays took Carl Crawford and 3 picks before the A's selected former labrum owner Ryan Ludwick. The Reds took Ty Howington in the 1st round that year and Ben Broussard in the 2nd, back when the Reds were terrible thanks to Jim Bowden consistently Tebowing Jim Bowden.
Phillips has been a central part of two of the most lopsided trades of recent memory. On June 27, 2002 he was the wool the Indians pulled over the Expos' eyes as the (then) key piece of a trade that resulted in he, Cliff Lee, and Grady Sizemore heading to Cleveland in exchange for Bartolo Colon. Woof. Just over a month later, Phillips made his MLB debut at 2B for the Indians.
Phillips was out of options after Spring Training in 2006 and had failed to make the Indians' 25-man roster, so after three uninspiring seasons in Cleveland he was traded again on April 6, this time to the Reds for a PTBNL that ended up being pitcher Jeff Stevens. Stevens never threw a pitch for the Indians at the MLB level.
Despite being on the offensive decline, Phillips has flourished with the Reds in his 9 seasons with the club, currently ranking 11th in club history in hits, 13th in career HR, and 1st in career Web Gems. He's also made 3 All-Star teams, won 4 Gold Gloves, had a 30/30 season, and taken home a Silver Slugger award.
Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 2nd round of the 1999 amateur draft. Player signed June 21, 1999.
June 27, 2002: Traded by the Montreal Expos with Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens to the Cleveland Indians for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew.
April 7, 2006: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be
named later. The Cincinnati Reds sent Jeff Stevens (June 13, 2006) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.
6 years, $72.5 million (2012-2017)
Signed extension with the Reds on 4/10/12, replacing existing option year on previous contract.
12:$12.5M, 13:$10M, 14:$11M, 15:$12M, 16:$13M, 17:$14M
Ratings via The Baseball Cube
Despite The Baseball Cube's assertion that Phillips is not virtuous, that's still the profile of a competent batter who can punish misfired pitching. Phillips' advanced age and declining health and offense have coincided with the precipitous offensive fall across the league, though, so while it's obvious that he's not the hitter he once was, his waning production hasn't really stood out too much since he's been surrounded in the lineup by other players failing to hit like they once did.
I am not optimistic about a full-fledged BP renaissance, but I still think he's capable of eeking out another .275/.325/.400 season with a little bit of luck and good health. With his defense and a regular spot lower in the batting order, that's dead sexy.
Fan Scouting Report Ratings via FanGraphs (career rating)
First step: (80)
Arm strength: (68)
Arm accuracy: (83)
Here's what I had to say about his rankings two years ago, which have not changed much at all:
That, folks, is elite defense...but you all already knew that. BP has consistently been one of the best defenders of any position in all of Major League Baseball, and while he's surely losing a step over his earlier exploits, he still has what it takes to be a top-class 2B.
I think I was of the mindset that by the end of the 2014 season, BP would have fallen off a larger cliff defensively than he has. We obviously haven't seen him yet in 2015, but if his defense continues to trend linearly, there should be no worry whatsoever about his ability to be excellent there once again.
Pitch f/x Hitter Profile (2006-2014):
If you can eliminate from your memory the 2007 version of Brandon Phillips when you watch him play these days, you'll see a fine baseball player with a still above-average set of skills. It has been six full seasons since he hit more than 20 dingers in a season, and he's five years removed from swiping more that 16 bases, and even a freak bout of health and luck won't return his 2015 production to those levels. However, if he stays healthy enough to again top 600 PA, he should still be able to provide the kind of high contact, low strikeout profile that will help balance the Reds' otherwise free swinging ways. And, of course, he'll display the kind of glovework in the field that every GM in baseball will be jealous of.
If he avoids being hit on the wrist by an inside heater and can dodge needing surgery on thumb ligaments, Brandon Phillips making $12 million in 2015 will be a solid investment. Not cheap and not a bargain, but at least money well spent.