April 7, 2006: Brandon Phillips is traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Cincinnati Reds for . The Cincinnati Reds sent Jeff Stevens (minors) (June 13, 2006) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.
The Reds had played 2005 with 33 year old Rich Aurilia at second base. Aurilia hit well in 2005, batting .282 with 14 homers and a .782 OPS. Aurilia was granted free agency in October, and the Reds traded for speedster IF-OF Tony Womack as a 2b candidate for 2006. Womack was coming off a less than stellar 2005 season with the Yankees where he hit .249 with no homers, 27 steals, and a .556 OPS. Aurilia was eventually re-signed in January, 2006, but the Reds had decided that wanted the former all-star shortstop to play a fulltime “utility role” in 2006, backing up young third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and playing all the infield positions. The Reds also included Ryan Freel in competition for 2b. Freel had started 103 games in a utility role in 2005, 48 of them at 2b.
The Reds began 2006 rotating Womack and Freel at the 2b position. Through April 15, Womack had started five games, Freel had started four, Aurilia had started one, and a new Reds player, Brandon Phillips had started one, too, on April 13. Phillips had worn out his welcome with the Cleveland Indians after having spent parts of the previous four seasons with them, playing 128 games at 2b and one at shortstop. He had been a semi-regular for them in 2003, but batted only .208 with a .553 OPS in 393 plate appearances. After getting only 30 plate appearances over the next two seasons, and spending most of the time in the minor leagues, Phillips was out of options. The Indians sent him to the Reds for a player to be named later.
Inserted into the Reds starting lineup on April 16 by manager Jerry Narron Phillips started all but two games at 2b through May 29. Phillips was hitting .309 with five homers and a .799 OPS. On June 13, Phillips was up to .310 with seven homers and an .810 OPS. Phillips has been the Reds second baseman since that time. Now in his fourth season as a Red, Phillips has compiled a .273 batting average with 85 home runs, 321 rbi, and a .777 OPS. He broke the Reds home run record for 2b when he he slugged 30 in 2007 (breaking Hall of Famer Joe Morgan’s record of 27 from 1976) and he had 32 steals that season. He won a Gold Glove in 2007.
On June 13, minor league relief pitcher Jeff Stevens was identified as the player to be named later for Phillips. At the time, Stevens was a 22 year old pitcher who had been drafted one year earlier in the sixth round by the Reds. He has since been converted to reliever, and in 160 minor league games covering 356 innings, he has struck out 390 batters. Stevens was traded to the Chicago Cubs in the Mark DeRosa trade in the winter of 2008. He made his Cub debut this summer, and has pitched in six games, covering seven innings and striking out six so far in 2009.