2014 Reds / Hot Stove

Yanks turn down Phillips for Gardner

Multiple news sources are reporting on the story…

From the NY Post:

The Yankees have decided they will only trade Brett Gardner if it returns a starting pitcher they value highly or else they simply will hold him and play him in conjunction with a Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield.

Nevertheless, when the Reds called and asked if the Yankees would be interested in swapping Gardner for Brandon Phillips, there was some discussion before the Yankees rejected it.

The Yankees were not attracted to Phillips because he has four years at $50 million left on his contract, has had declining offense and has had some public skirmishes with Reds ownership. Also, anticipating that Robinson Cano might leave, Phillips and his reps put the Yankees on what is believed to be a 12-team no-trade list. It was possibly intimated to the Yankees that for Phillips to even consider a deal, he would have to have his contract extended.

If the talks weren’t dead before that, they were at that point.

And from CBSSports:

Heyman reports the Reds offered Phillips to the Yankees for Brett Gardner, but were rejected. At some point before the offer was made, Phillips asked the Reds to open up his contract to add more money. Phillips does have a no-trade clause.

My feelings on Brandon Phillips are pretty well known on this blog. I’ve always considered him a “me guy”. He’s been a great defensive second baseman, but generally over-rated by the fans and media offensively. I felt the deal they signed him to last year would be an albatross around the franchise’s neck (though didn’t expect it to be one this soon). Some of the analytic arguments made me a little less negative on the deal than my initial feelings, but that was before he called the owner a liar in print, humiliated the manager by verbally berating a reporter in the manager’s office, and rumors started to circulate of his dressing away from his teammates and being happier if he went 2-4 and the team lost, than going 0-4 with a win.

I felt that the Yankees were the only place the Reds would be able to unload Phillips to and had hoped that Gardner would come back in return. I felt it was worthwhile, even for a rental player (especially one that fills a big need on the ’14 Reds and can act as a bridge to Hamilton), to get Phillips off the ballclub.

Now it appears to me (unless these are all negotiating ploys by each actor in this sad drama (Phillips, Yankees, Reds)) that the Reds are stuck with Phillips.

I don’t see another avenue for trading Phillips (though it’s tough to say without know what teams are on his 12 team “no trade” list).

Does anyone see this playing out any differently? Will Brandon Phillips be the Reds 2B on Opening Day or does Walt still have a trick up his sleeve?

189 thoughts on “Yanks turn down Phillips for Gardner

  1. Now that guy is saying we signed Infante and he is heading to Cincy for a physical now…starting to not believe it.

    • @rfay00: If it is…here is the opening day lineup (another reason it is not believable):


      Notice Cozart is missing? Where does Hamilton fit in or is he in AAA again and Infante leads off?

      Unless a Frazier trade (which has been rumored slightly) to bring back pitching and send Infante to 3rd…I don’t see this working. Too much movement by the Reds to be believable.

    • @rfay00: Also, why would the Dodgers want BP when they signed that Cuban defector in the early portion of the offseason? I just find it a bit odd they would want that many middle infielders but are also looking to offload an extra OF.

      • @cgramanFC: I heard the Cuban guy can play SS and the Dodgers might have trouble signing Uribe back so move Ramirez to 3rd, Cuban at SS and Phillips at 2nd?

        • @JoshG: i dont think that makes sense. I would believe Dodgers more likely to re-sign for one or two years mark ellis in that scenario, which saves them future $$$ for Kershaw vs the $$$ on Brandon.

  2. I would really have liked to have seen Bailey and Phillips go to the AL, but I guess you can’t have everything.

  3. The Old Cossack just doesn’t understand the rationalization that Phillips’ performance is not regressing. Phillips had 2 superb seasons (2007 & 2011) during his 12 year career with a good 5 year run (2007-2011) with a 104 OPS+, a 0.911 Fld%, a cumulative 18.7 WAR and an average 3.7 WAR.

    The league average Fld% is 0.984. During the past 4 seasons, Phillips’ Fld% has declined:

    2010 0.996
    2011 0.992
    2012 0.992
    2013 0.987

    The league average OPS+ is 100 (by definition). During the past 3 seasons, Phillips’ OPS+ has declined:

    2011 118
    2012 099
    2013 092

    During the past 3 seasons, Phillips’ BA and OBP has declined:

    2011 .300 .353
    2012 .281 .321
    2013 .261 .310

    Last season Phillips’ SB and SB% dropped off the cliff (5 & 62.5%). Phillips did maintain consistent HR power (18) over the past four seasons, but that’s about all that has not regressed over the past 3-4 seasons.

    The issue is not IF Phillips’ performance is regressing, but how steep will the regression curve continue over the next 4 seasons and how ugly will that contract get over the next 4 seasons. I really see Phillips upside as league average (+1.0 WAR) over the next 2 seasons and falling to below replacement level WAR over the last two seasons. The Reds should never have signed Phillips to an albatross contract, especially with any no-trade clause included.

    Over the past 2 seasons (2012-2013), Henry Rodriguez produced a 0.988 Fld% at AAA. Over 2 seasons (2011-2012) HenRod produced an OBP% of .367 & .385 at AA with an OPS of .799 & .824. Although he struggled early at AAA, his final 2 months produced a .338 OBP at AAA and he has produced a winter league slash line of .272/.339/.344 during this off season. The Reds will lose nothing by replacing Phillips at 2B. HenRod should produce league average performance at 2B (offensively and defensively) at league minimum salary, even if the Reds do not bring in a replacement 2B.

    • @Shchi Cossack: And notice how Phillips career year in 2011 happens to be the year the Reds missed the playoffs of the past four. Not saying the two have correlation, but for some one who has been rumored to care more about going 2-4 in a losing effort than caring if the team wins while putting up an O-fer, its just amusing.

      I agree, it’s obvious that he’s going into decline. Unfortunately that’s obvious to the rest of the league too. His age (connected directly to his projected decline) is one of the reasons the Dodgers did not want to move further in initial talks. For everyone talking about the GG and All-Star games, realize that both those awards have a large amount of name recognition attached to them. Phillips has a reputation as a great fielder (and one deserved) and he shows up on SC top plays with the occasional flashy play. But his numbers suggest he regressing to the mean in his fielding. And he has been regressing offensively as well the past two years. History says it’s only going to continue. Add into the fact that he’s a poor baserunner among other “personality” issues, and it’s hard to form an argument for keeping him.

    • @Shchi Cossack:
      I think the injury had a LOT to do with Phillips offensive #’s taking a sharp downward turn last year, I’d be willing to bet 2014 Phillips looks a lot more like 2012 phillips.
      At the time of the injury.. he was the Reds most valuable player

      • @JoshG:

        my point being.. the decline appeared more steep than it might really be.
        and how much fielding % means is very debatable..

  4. from outside looking in on Reds org and the Hot Stove league, feels like things have gotten away from Walt. the Choo money/years is to be about 25-35% more than expected or so it seems. the BP rumors coming and going, that ownership and/or front office “dislikes” BP. Homer trade rumors/rift, no known progress on any extention talks for Homer or Latos. only glimmer has been it seems like Choo options are becoming more limited, perhaps providing a chance Reds bring him back.

    Still, seems more likely, Walt will be stuck with minor moves, ie find RH platoon CF with BHam(maybe Stubbs or equiv), LH batter for LF in case Ludwick still not all the way back. Any big moves are seemingly over the cost threshold in terms of $$$$ or trade chips.

    Then Reds go with what they got for 2014, and hope pitching can carry the team in playoffs.

    BHam + righty platoon


    This still seems like a pretty good team. I just hope Walt does not make a trade for sake of a move to show he is doing something and really cost the Reds.

    • @doctor: I’m afraid you’re right and you sum things up well. It’s been a depressing off season, other than the hiring of Price. One additional thing is Chapman’s announcement that “He will not start.” Even if he feels that way, he had no reason to say it, all he had to say was that he doesn’t want to talk about it.

      Brantley has talked for years about Chapman’s adjustment problems and his being complicated, maybe he’s just an immature prima donna. It’s the first time I’ve really wanted him traded, and it might be the only real trade chip the Reds have, other than the short list of obvious people you don’t want to trade.

      And Walt has not only said it’s going to be hard to extend Bailey, he said the same thing about Latos.

      • @pinson343: When there were no extensions for the starting pitchers last off season, I pretty much girded myself for losing every starting pitcher to FA when they are eligible. I’m not concerned about losing any relief pitchers to FA (only over-paying for FA relief pitchers as WJ is prone to do), but losing the starting pitchers leaves a big hole in the roster that must be filled from the minor league system. That’s 4 starters who must be replaced by 2016 and right now the Reds can look to Stephenson as a definite then possibly Holmberg, Travieso, Lorenzen and Corcino followed by a list of low level minor league prospects. That list doesn’t give the Old Cossack a very warm and fuzzy feeling.

        • @Shchi Cossack: You know, the supplemental draft needs to be augmented to help small market teams. If a player is Cano like, there should almost be 2 picks. The same for each of our starter who we will lose in the next 3 years as you state there Cossack.

          In order not to get a pick, you need to trade them before 1 year of control, which means that you have to develop and trade them 2 years prior to get more than one draft pick. I am not sure that you can get a lot of young talent for Homer this year for instance.

          you get to one year and you are in a bidding war already in the free agent market. We are going to have to overpay for Bailey just like we would any other free agent who we want to come to Cincy

      • @pinson343: to be clear, its likely Walt/Reds Org is really hard at work behind the scenes and I do not blame him at all for keeping things under wraps. I would be doing the same in his shoes even though it would be tough keeping quiet since I know I have a fan base thats eager for any sign or news indicating Reds are “in action”.

    • @doctor: It could end up being like that, but I want to believe there are moves that can be made. I think if the reds could get BP off the books then that would open everything up.

      2nd base replacement options
      Omar Infante – Not much cheaper than BP but 5 mil is 5 mil.
      David Murphy – Not sure what prospects it would take. Might even take leake. Not sure.
      Howie Kendrick – Makes 10 mil so he would be like Infante, but you would have to give up Leake for sure.
      Nick Franklin – has a ton of upside, needs more development. Cheap but would probably cost Leake also.

      We can also move Frazier to Second base and trade for a 3b like Headley.

      I would trade Leake but not Homer for these players. Homer need to be resigned. His best years are ahead of him.

      We then go to Chicago and see what it would take to get Alejandro De Aza. Or stick with BH.

  5. A bit off topic but I didn’t like reading that one of the reasons that the Rockies balked on Marshall was that they some medical concerns.

  6. MLBtraderumors posted this last night:

    Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips have been two of the offseason’s biggest names rumored to be on the trade market, and there was a chance the two could’ve been dealt for each other in a blockbuster. The Dodgers and Reds “briefly spoke about” swapping the two All-Stars earlier this winter, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but the Dodgers didn’t have much interest. L.A. wasn’t keen on adding an older player (Phillips is 32) who is owed $50MM through 2017, plus the Dodgers felt the deal wouldn’t have been a fair swap if Kemp returned to full health.

    • @Greg Dafler: Twitter Guy posted a fake Matt Kemp jersey on his account and then promptly deleted it once he was called out on it by myself and other people. Alas, I wanted to be believe that the Reds were so close and active behind the scenes, but he’s just a lonely guy who spends a lot of time on the blogs and has a borderline pathological “creativity” streak. It’s a shame, but at least I was entertained.

      • @walshjp:

        Twitter Dude was taken off the air. His account was suspended. You may have tripped him up and ID’d just who it was.
        So who really knows now if anything was legit or not. It did entertain through another very weak Winter Meetings for the Reds.

        • @WVRedlegs: I am kind of disappointed. I wanted to believe, but the house of cards came tumbling down once he posted the jersey. But still, I’m pretty sure it was that fake blue check that got him booted. #SeeHearTell2k14

    • @Greg Dafler: I like that the Dodgers think that it would be unfair “if Kemp returns to full health”, since we all know that he’s been the paragon of health over his career. It’s like the Rockies balking on trading for Marshall due to health concerns. It makes sense for both sides to be afraid of trading for damaged goods, but you can’t expect to trade him as if he were completely healthy.

        • @rhayex: I just look at Matt Kemp as too big of a risk. People were so upset because of the Griffey trade and his extension with the club. He signed the extension at a hometown discount and was younger than Kemp at the time of the trade. He also didn’t have Kemp’s injury history. Now, we aren’t talking about the same number of years but the risks seem actually much higher than they were for the Griffey trade and extension.

          I don’t like the idea of Kemp in a Reds’ jersey because of the money, age, injury history, and what it would cost the Reds in players to get it done.

    • @Greg Dafler: let the Dodgers feel that way and keep Kemp. I would not want the Reds to make that trade, its a lose-nuetral type of trade. Too much risk given injury history for $120M+ and even if Kemp did come back healthy, then the $$$ handcuff Reds org on future moves plus the loss of trade chips. I would rather Reds offer that $$$ to Choo in that case.

  7. I think the whole issue was that you look at getting an MVP player at a discount. Kind of like when we floated Ryan Braun a few weeks back.

    Those guys don’t come cheaply, but Braun or Kemp may be had without giving up your house, first born, 401K, 5 top pitching prospects and Hamilton, Cozart and Marty Brenaman to get Gio Stanton.

    If you could get Kemp, prospect and significant cash for Phillips and Bailey, And also sign Bronson for one year, you have improved the team.

    Kemp will not need to steal 40 bases anymore in Cincy. He can just hit 300 and 40 HR’s and circle the bases. Shoot, if he can hit 39 in LA, he can hit 50 in GABP. And he will bat between Votto and Bruce. You could have 3 guys with 140 HR’s

    I am sure there would be a lot of interest in trading Marty though

    • @reaganspad: There is certainly a chance that Kemp can do those things. There is certainly a chance he can even do those things in 2014. When thinking in the long term, I think it would be a bad move for the Reds.

      As for trading Marty, I think the feelings among the fan-base would be… Mixed :mrgreen:

      • @LWBlogger: I think of Kemp the way I think of Dave Parker, only without the weight gain.

        Parker, post MVP and dugout cigarettes in that Pirates jailbirds cap was a monster for the Reds

        • @reaganspad:

          Thats a good comparison. Parker had some mighty fine years as a Red. I always liked the Cobra. He played his AAA ball here before getting promoted to Pittsburgh. I got to see him hit the longest home run in history.
          The home run he hit went way out of RF and landed in a passing coal hopper of a coal train. The train was bound for a power plant near Columbus, OH and didn’t stop until it got there. Around here, it is affectionately called the longest HR in history. If you ever get to meet Parker or get an autograph from him, ask him about that HR. It always brings a big smile to his face.

  8. Anyone else catch the Pirates signing Edinson Volquez this week? 1 year deal.

  9. All I want for Christmas, Reds Lineup:
    2b, Billy Hamilton

    • @bwise: why Ludwick ahead of Bruce?

      if that was the personel
      I’d go

      unless you want to try and get Frazier more fastballs then flop him and Ludwick

  10. I think the only place Phillips could be traded now (other than the slight chance to the Yanks) is Toronto.. as PART of a big deal bringing Jose Bautista back this way.

    But I assume Torornto is on his No trade list too.

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