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?