2009 Reds / Reds - General

Move Brandon Phillips Back To SS

In the wake of the Alex Gonzalez deal, Redleg Nation thinks it is high time the Reds organization makes the move they should have made the day they traded Felipe Lopez away and move Brandon Phillips back to shortstop. With Chris Valaika’s bat appearing to peak out at AAA this season, there is not anyone in the organization that appears ready to be of help at SS in the near future. With this season already a lost cause, doesn’t it seem to make sense to see if Phillips can still play the position he played for 82% of his minor league career?

In the Cleveland organization, Phillips was a SS from 1999 to 2002. He was not a fulltime 2B until 2003 with the Indians, and later at AAA Buffalo after he flopped offensively in the majors. In 2004 he split time evenly between SS and 2B at AAA. In 2005 he was a full-time SS in AAA. Omar Vizquel was the Cleveland SS through the 2004 season, and Johnny Peralta took over full-time in 2005. So basically Phillips had 5.5 years of professional experience at SS and 1.5 years of professional experience at 2B when he came to the Reds, and some pretty good SS talent in front of him in Cleveland.

Phillips has indicated that he’d be willing to make the move back to SS on several occasions since arriving in Cincinnati. If nothing else, finding out if Phillips can still play the position would give the Reds the flexibility of finding either a SS or a 2B to fill the big hole in the middle infield for next season.

Is it possible that the Reds are already considering this move? That may be the only logical reason for moving one of their top prospects, Todd Frazier (who is hitting .296/.355/.485/.840 at AA), from LF to 2B recently. Frazier was drafted as a SS, but many saw his 6’3” 215 lb frame being more likely to end up at 3B or a corner OF spot. Just last winter, the Reds had moved him from SS to LF, where he played for most of the season before being moved to 2B for the last few weeks. If Phillips is entrenched at 2B for the Reds, why would they move one of their best prospects at the higher levels behind him on the depth chart all of a sudden when he would seem to be much more likely to break into the Reds lineup at either LF or 3B a lot sooner?

The Reds already know that Paul Janish can play SS and that he can’t hit. The better solution would be to maximize Phillips’ bat by moving him to the tougher defensive position that he’s shown the ability to play in the past. The Reds should go ahead and move him back to SS now for the remainder of the season and let him get comfortable on that side of the infield again while they are simply playing out the season; if nothing else, this helps to find the answer to some questions for turning things around for next season. Making a sensible move like this one could also go a long way toward showing the Cincinnati Reds fan base that there might actually be some sort of plan in place to improve this club, as opposed to the mixed signals the Reds have been sending out lately.

57 thoughts on “Move Brandon Phillips Back To SS

  1. Has a single reporter this entire season asked Dusty why he’s batting Taveras leadoff and putting the two worst OBP on the team in the top 2 positions in the batting order?

    or do the reporters act like cowards, wait most of the season then start writing stuff in public but don’t directly ask him? Is there a Dusty pre-game in the Cincinnati area like there is a Giants pre-game with their manager? Someone just ask him! And don’t take the stupid-cliche-responses and write them down, follow up, interact and find out what the hell is going on.

  2. If you’re going to move Phillips to SS then I’d have him practice there for a couple of weeks and then play there for the last month. You don’t want to test him there next year and 2 months into the season find that he just doesn’t fit there.

    Also I don’t understand the obsession with Drew Stubbs, the guy has never hit over .277 for a full year in the minors. Stubbs has the same AVG (.268/.269) and lower OBP (.353) in AAA than Dickerson (.365) does in the majors (Not to mention Stubbs strikes out once a game). Do we really think that him coming to the majors is going to improve his numbers?
    So Stubbs plays better defense and is a better base stealer than Dickerson…but how much better? Will his defense/base stealing make up for his lack of hitting?

    I also think people are under valuing Chris Heisey. You want some pop this guy has it (He’s tied for 5th in homers in the AA southern league, yeah the league he hasn’t played in for 2 months). 19 homers on the year (13 in AA, 6 in AAA).
    06 he batted .286, 07 .295, 08 .291 and 09 he is batting .320 (.278 in AAA). His on base percentage is usually about .80 points above his average. In my mind this guy is a great candidate for LF. He should give you a decent avergage, on base percentage and power and probably plus defense.

  3. Why not get Heisey some innings at 2B? He’s right-handed, and 2B is just one step up the defensive spectrum from CF.

    Worth a shot, at least, maybe in the Arizona Fall League?

  4. I’m afraid John Fay’s article makes a great deal of sense. It’s going to be extremely hard for this team to upgrade because the budget is stretched so thin. Phillips move to SS might be one of the few things management can do to improve the club without breaking the bank.

  5. Next season in the outfield: Heisey, Stubbs, and Bruce with Gomes and Dickerson as reserves.

  6. 1. By the way, I’m in no way sold that Stubbs (or Heisey) are answers to the Reds. I don’t think Stubbs will hit enough to hold a starting job on the Reds, unless there’s two big time hitters on each side of him. Dickerson’s not a long term answer, and he may not even be a short-term answer; I think over exposure will catch up with him. I think Heisey has a chance to be a better fit than Stubbs, too, but Stubbs can play all the outfield spots extremely well. He’s what the Reds decided to pay millions for in Taveras.

    2. Here’s a cost of the Ramon Hernandez trade….it hurts worse all the time…from Baseball prospectus. Here’s a guy we need RIGHT NOW…instead we have Hernandez and false praise…

    Sleeper alert!

    Justin Turner, 2B, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk)
    Sunday’s stats: 2-for-4, R, BB, 2 K
    A seventh-round pick in 2006 out of Cal State Fullerton, Turner came to Baltimore from the Reds in the off-season as part of the package for Ramon Hernandez, and all he’s done this year is what he’s done at every level – be productive. He’s now hitting .309/.373/.405. His tools will never impress anyone on any level, but if you want to compile an all-makeup team, Turner is one of your first picks, and nobody would be surprised if he ended up with a David Eckstein-esque career.

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