The Cincinnati Reds have been actively trying to trade veteran 2B Brandon Phillips for quite some time now, twice reaching agreements with teams only to have BP use his legitimately gained 10/5 rights to veto deals. Both Arizona and Washington moved on after being unable to see deals go through prior to the 2016 season, but according to FOXsports.com's Ken Rosenthal, both the Reds - and Phillips - have been up to their old habits again this offseason.
That the Reds are still trying to move Phillips is no surprise, obviously. They're even deeper into their rebuild than they were when they first shopped him, and now both Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera are in the organization and pining for playing time in the middle infield. Coupled with Zack Cozart - who, like Phillips, is also in his last year of team control with the Reds - and there's a readily evident logjam in the middle infield with the team clearly yearning to turn the page to the younger players.
The problem has been finding a landing spot for both Cozart and Phillips. Moving Cozart has proved difficult due to his knee issues and lack of teams with clear needs at SS; moving Phillips, however, has been near impossible due to his $14 million salary for 2017 and open willingness to invoke his effective no-trade clause.
The Braves seemed on paper like one of the few potential trade partners with the Reds for Phillips, something we detailed back in November. They're moving into a new stadium in 2017, had already signed veterans to anchor their roster (and hopefully put butts in seats) in R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon, and at the time of our article featured a clear void at 2B that would, in theory, be even improved by the 36 year old to-be Phillips. That's when Phillips apparently vetoed the otherwise agreed upon deal, per Rosenthal, before Atlanta moved on to sign IF Sean Rodriguez to fill a similar role.
Phillips, who went to high school in nearby Stone Mountain, GA and owns a home in Atlanta, apparently was unwilling to make the move, with Rosenthal citing certain "unspecified" problems with the Reds as a reason to not approve the move.
For Phillips, though, the issue is not simply money, sources say.
He considers his refusal to accept a deal to be a matter of principle, and would want the team to address certain, unspecified issues before waiving his no-trade protection, sources say.
Considering this is the same player that once called the 6 year, $72+ million extension he signed a "slap in the face,"it now seems clear that there's a disconnect between team and player, which would be a frustrating way to wrap a Reds career that has otherwise been solid, if not spectacular. Now it appears clear that the Reds will likely be stuck with both Phillips and said logjam in the middle infield this year, one more hurdle for the team's rebuild to leap amid a bevy of other obstacles.
Ugh. Nothing is ever easy with these Reds.