We grow attached to players for many reasons. Usually, these players are good enough to stick around longer than a presidential election cycle. They attract fans with their performance, personalities, the way they play the game, or for any number of reasons. Then, as father time or the business of baseball sends them on their way, we lose something.

We love the name on the front of the jersey, but the names on the back become local heroes. Not actual heroes, but certainly super men at the center of our favorite pastime. Even though our hearts want them to continue on in glory forever, they don’t. They fade away like most of life’s pleasures.

In baseball, we learn to love again. The exuberance of seeing our heroes succeed is worth the sadness of that hero’s eventual fall from grace. As old heroes fade away, we cling to new ones.

For all of Brandon Phillips flaws, especially his eruptions and unwise chatter off the field, he has endeared himself to a generation of Reds’ fan. All of those spectacular defensive plays, the 30-30 season, his big smile on the field. He seems to really enjoy the game and love the city of Cincinnati. All of these things and more have led to a loyal following among the locals.

Phillips is probably a Reds’ Hall of Famer and was certainly an integral part of bringing winning baseball back to Cincinnati. I don’t like writing that the Reds should consider benching him, but for the sake of the team’s future, they need to do it soon.

Phillips had a resurgent 2015, reversing a trend of decline from 2012-2014. Last October, our very own Steve Mancuso wrote an article discussing whether 2015 was a new starting point for his aging curve.  Then, in December, the Reds agreed to a deal to send Phillips to the Washington Nationals in return for multiple minor leaguers. Phillips would be reunited with one of his biggest fans in Dusty Baker, and the Reds would receive some prospects in return for a player unlikely to be on the next winning team.

Of course, the deal died when Phillips wanted an extension in order to waive his 10 and 5 rights. The Nats moved on, and Phillips remains entrenched at second base for a team that may lose 100 games.

Now, Phillips has seemingly regressed back to his 2012-2014 decline timeline, making it hard to believe that any team would give up anything to take him even if he reversed course and would approve a deal. If we remove 2015, we can clearly see the regression in his game.

phillips

Phillips has been a great defender throughout his career, and he’s still decent. His UZR ranks 9th among second basemen. His defensive decline has been somewhat graceful, but his base running and offense continue to plummet.

Out of 168 qualified players, Phillips ranks 166 in Fangraphs’ base running metrics. The only players behind him are Victor Martinez, who has played since 1918, and Miguel Cabrera, who runs about as fast as my 18 month old son (not yet validated).

On offense, the 2015 season looks like an outlier that was engendered by a BABIP of .315. Phillips has slowly lost two important parts of his game: power and speed. He hasn’t slugged over .400 since 2012 and is slugging only .351 against right handers this year.

The speed decline has led to a career worst batting average (.214) on ground balls this year. Billy Hamilton he is not.

The drop off isn’t surprising as second basemen in their thirties often see a rapid decline in production. While Phillips has aged more gracefully than some others, he currently looks like a player whose game fell off a cliff.

Maybe Phillips rebounds some in the second half. Can he really be this bad? But honestly, it doesn’t matter. The Reds need to consider benching him because Jose Peraza needs to play every day.

The Reds seem to think of Peraza as a shortstop based on where they played him in AAA this season. And if Zack Cozart is traded, that’s where he will likely end up.

Until then, second base makes a lot of sense for the middle infielder. He may even end up there permanently. Phillips has struggled mightily, and the Reds gain nothing from playing him. If Peraza’s future is in the middle infield, start playing him there now.

The Reds need to begin putting the pieces together for their next winning team and letting their fans fall in love with those players. Is Peraza the next player we fall for? He better be. The Reds were so desperate to get him that they shipped off what may have been their best trade chip this offseason to acquire him. Peraza probably isn’t a superstar, but he does profile as an everyday player at key defensive positions. Winning teams have those players.

By the end of the month, the Reds may have traded Zack Cozart and Jay Bruce for more young pieces. They should also make Brandon Phillips a part-time player. Those moves will close an exciting chapter in Reds’ baseball. But, it’s time to fall in love with the next generation of Reds’ players. We have lost our baseball heroes before, but we will find our footing again in young, exciting talent.

Peraza may or may not be a player we endear ourselves to, but now is the time to begin figuring that out, even at the expense of a Reds’ Hall of Famer.

71 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    Great post, Nick. I hadn’t really looked at BP’s numbers that closely. You’re right about him being back on his 2012-14 trajectory. The Reds need to talk to him about reduced playing time. The numbers are there in black and white.

    Are they rebuilding or are they coddling veterans?

    The Reds need to give Jose Peraza a position in the IF and have him play there every day so he can begin to get settled in as a major league player and the Reds start to see what they have in him.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Agreed on all points.

      While looking at some things I stumbled across a weird coincidence… each of Peraza, Schebler, DeJesus, and Holt have a wRC+ of 46 or 47. Weird. And Sad.

      Also sad is that Peraza, who hasn’t really hit well in his first 69 PA with the Reds and hasn’t walked much, has a higher OBP than Duvall, Hamilton, and Holt, and is within 1 walk of Phillips, Cabrera, and Suarez.

    • Jay King

      I think they should approach Phillips and ask him to 3 of 6 games or 4 of 7 games a week. Then next year lower it even more if he is still around.

  2. John Gattermeyer

    Something this past week occurred that I found interesting. One day Price said he believed BP could “fix” his issues batting in the three hole. It was maybe the very next game that he dropped BP in the order. This is the first sign I’ve seen from Price where he is actually considering a change to the every day lineup he’s run out there as far as BP is concerned. And I can’t be the only one who sees a ball skirt past BP on a diving play and think, “that would’ve been almost routine a few years ago.” BP has reached his end. The early returns on Peraza haven’t inspired a ton of confidence, but give me the unproven 22 year old instead of the over-the-cliff, former star every day of the week. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out the rest of the year.

  3. Patrick Jeter

    The most encouraging thing about Peraza’s early experience is that he is 9-9 in SB and 2-2 in bunt attempts. So much of his value is going to be tied up in defense and base running, so its nice to see that one of those parts is “for real” so far.

    As far as defense goes, we can’t possibly trust any of the numbers considering he hasn’t started at the same position yet on back-to-back days and that most of his time has been at LF/CF (with a start at DH to boot), which won’t be his normal position of SS or 2B.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Most interesting about Peraza’s current defensive numbers is this…

      So far in LF and CF combined, he’s made 14 of 14 plays on balls “in zone,” and he’s made 2 “out of zone” plays, which nets him a -2.3 runs in “range.” I don’t get that. I guess that’s why you shouldn’t trust 77 innings of defensive data… 😉

  4. WVRedlegs

    It didn’t have to come down to this and have it end this way. BP fooled himself into thinking 2015 was going to be 2016 also.
    Now would be the time to bench him. It not only gives Peraza more playing time, it could be the impetus for BP to finally accept a trade without holding it up for ransom. If there is one out there to be had.
    There might be one saving grace before August 1st gets here. It goes back to the Washington Nationals. With Ryan Zimmerman hurt again, they are moving Daniel Murphy to 1B and calling up Trea Turner for 2B. If somehow Turner doesn’t do well, they could re-visit trade talks for BP. That isn’t likely though. More likely its going to take a major injury to a 2B on a team that doesn’t have another decent 2B option.

  5. enfueago

    The key point here is part time, not a permanent fixture on the bench. He deserves better than to be humiliated by a total benching or release and its not like he is blocking Joe Morgan from playing second. There has to be a way to make this move gracefully and keep happy the one veteran guy (except maybe Votto who seems somewhat aloof) who has made it clear he wants to be a Red and part of the community. And, oh yeah, was a terrific player for several years. How they treat guys like this sets the tone for the younger players and whether they should strive to be good representative of the organization

    • Patrick Jeter

      The game is about winning, not coddling people. I think BP knows better than anyone he isn’t performing at an acceptable level to keep getting full playing time. At some point, the game passes you by.

      Also, if you gave younger players the option to be a good player for many years and then be benched in your twilight years, they’d take it every time.

      BP has had a good career. Time to stop detracting from the team’s ability to build winner.

      • enfueago

        Actually, the game is about entertaining people and winning is simply a good way to do that. For myself, I think I might like to see a real star I’ve rooted for in his twilight on a team not close to contending than some guy I never heard of and never will on a team not close to contending. Its not an either/or proposition in any event. The key to running a successful organization is to be as mercenary as need be while still convincing everyone else that you are all one big family. By all means get some time for Peraza but at least try to do it in a way that makes everyone as accepting as they can be. If Phillips pouts over a reduction with dignity…well then drop the hammer. As frustrating as Dusty Baker was as a game manager (i.e. the worst I have eve seen), I suspect he could have pulled it off. I’m not sure if a lame duck Price can.

      • Patrick Jeter

        I guess if we’re being honest, MLB is neither about winning nor entertaining…it’s about money. I guess we both should have just gone there from the beginning! 😉

        I suppose it all comes down to preference. If we have to watch a 100-loss team, would you rather watch the former star who is not good anymore, or the 22-yr old who isn’t good now, but might be somewhat decent and help a contender in the future?

        Six one way, half-dozen the other, I suppose!

        Agree with your Dusty point. I’m not a fan of his, but all the players seem to respond well to him everywhere he’s been.

      • MrRed

        Now you guys are getting on track. But I’d say the analogy is that one glass is being emptied while the other glass is being filled (hopefully, without too much spillage!)

      • greenmtred

        Patrick: I have a rare disagreement with you. Baseball is about money, of course, but the money is there because it is entertainment. I am, and have been, a big fan of BP’s, and seeing his decline this year saddens me (his being younger than 3 of my 4 children is not, of course, a factor in this). I would rather watch a player who is part of the future, but also feel strongly that treating people decently and respectfully is important in baseball and everywhere else. Tough situation.

  6. sezwhom

    Should Brandon Phillips Be a Part-time Player? Yes. Should split time with Peraza now.

  7. mdhabel

    FWIW, Sports Illustrated named Phillps, Suarez and Cingrani to the Anti-Stars team.

  8. Shchi Cossack

    There is no trade for Phillips under any circumstances. Phillips has clearly demonstrated that he has no value left, except at a league minimum salary. The only way for the Reds to remove him from the 25-man roster will be to just release him and eat the contract. There’s no reason to do that since the salary this season and next season is a sunk cost. Just move Phillips to a utility role and possibly even a super-utility role.

    Even more telling than his age regression is his performance this season. During the 1st 13 games (less than 3 weeks), Phillips slashed .347/.377/.510. Since that initial surge, Phillips has slashed just .238/.277/.341 over 66 games (about 2 1/2 months). That performance (.618 OPS) is only better than Cabrera (.605 OPS), De Jesus (.557) & Holt (.546), who are all relegaterd to utility roles. The only regular even close to a .618 OPS is Hamilton and he is starting only due to his elite speed and elite defense, both qualities missing from Phillips game.

    Moving Phillips down in the order is not a solution, temporary or permanent. Phillips must be moved to a utility role. I would actuially like the idea of De Jesus and Phillips as utility IF for this team. If Peraza is up for the duration, then he needs a position that will allow him to play every game and work both on his offense and defense at the major league level.

  9. WVRedlegs

    Hey man, c’mon. That is our #3 hole hitter you are talking about. (wink)

    • Patrick Jeter

      The funny thing is that Price didn’t improve the lineup at all with dropping Phillips, since he decided to move Hamilton to #2 and drop Votto to #3. Trading one bad hitter at the top for another… another head-scratching Brian Price move!

      • Gaffer

        To be fair, what are his choices? Other than benching BP, the order maters very little if the choices are equivalent.

      • Patrick Jeter

        It’s not about whether or not the order matters much. Trust me, I know more than most how much batting order matters (or doesnt).

        It’s about the decision making process. Price moved BP down because he wasn’t producing, and rather than moving Bruce/Duvall up a slot, he keeps them where they have been and moves another not-so-great hitter up.

        That signaled to me the move was not about making the lineup better, it was about the old unwritten rule of “produce or you get moved down.” Sometimes they can coincide. This time they did not.

  10. Chuck Schick

    He’s been treated with an enormous amount of respect since the blocked trades. He played almost everyday and wasn’t relegated to the bottom of the order. His play has given the Reds the necessary air cover to bench him. No reasonable person can argue that he wasn’t treated as an all time Red great and given the opportunity to show he belongs in the lineup.

    • lwblogger2

      Yes, my concern with benching him sooner was that it sends a bad message to bench a productive player for a young guy in the name of rebuilding. That is no longer a concern because his production is way down and it’s now pretty easy to say he’s being benched for a lack of production. There’s now a purely baseball reason to sit him down.

  11. hoosierdad1

    Moving BP to a super utility role might also revitalize his stats. I’ve got to think the wear and tear on his body has taken a cumulative toll. I’d love to see him play a couple of games a week and pinch hit 2-3 times a week and see if he would see some improvement. Of course, if that happened he’d probably be reinserted into the everyday lineup and proclaimed “fixed”! Lol

  12. Nick Carrington

    I didn’t include it in the article, but Phillips current platoon splits are very part-time playerish:

    vs left handers: .295/.330/.455
    vs right handers: .252/.290/.358 (the post say his slugging is .351 against righties. He upped it with his three hit day Wednesday).

    He can still hit lefties but struggles mightily against right-handed pitchers. No way you start Phillips against all lefties at the expense of Peraza, but Phillips could still be a useful pinch hitter against southpaws.

  13. Gaffer

    A little late, but to answer the post . . . YES

  14. thecoastman

    Excellent breakdown on BP. You guys always nail it.

    That said — didn’t we go over this issue ad nauseum when BP turned down those trades. The FO should have made it abundantly clear at that time, to both BP and his agent, that we had an obligation to the fans to develop our kids as quickly as possible and they were going to get the lion’s share of playing time. In essence, nothing personal, and we appreciate all you’ve done for the organization, but if you stay you are going to be relegated to more of a bench role. It really should have been that simple.

    I suppose the most shocking and disappointing thing to me was that Price immediately anointed BP as the starter at 2nd even before ST started. Then, he stubbornly kept him in that 3 hole night after night after night. Trust me, I have about half the head of hair I had just a month ago. It’s all pulled out on the floor around my TV. I’m not sure even Dusty would have done that. How maddening! For that reason alone Price should get canned. Of course that’s a whole other discussion.

    Again, I respect that BP is loved in Cincy — he’s a king in the Queen City — he leads Cincinnati 2nd baseman in just about every category and is a shoe in to the Reds HOF, but he understands as much as anyone that this is a bottom line business.

  15. dan

    Votto is regressing time to make him a part time player as well. Maybe Votto and Phillips can share first base until we actually start drafting first basemen? Either way neither Phillips or Votto will be relevant by the time the Reds are relevant again.

  16. dan

    Votto is regressing as well maybe time to part time him as well?

    • Jeremy Conley

      There are so many things wrong with this, but the most obvious is that Votto, while not playing well for him, is still a well above average hitter with an .848 OPS. Phillips is well below average at .661.

      • dan

        reality is that he won’t be relevant next time the Reds as a collective are relevant so might as well start working on the next one. Votto = over rated thanks to his high walk rates. My opinion not everyone shares it but I don’t value the walk nor the ability to draw walks. Votto is not a good fielder and he is aging. BP is hated for non baseball reasons. Of course he is not as good as Votto never was, but he has strengths and weaknesses just like any other player. A player these days hits 31 or 32 and you better already have someone in the pipeline nipping at their heels. My guess is that in 2 or 3 years it will be Duvall, although that will already be to late.

      • MrRed

        Just trying to clarify, Dan. Do you value a guy who makes outs? Or a guy that’s a Punch and Judy type hitter? If so, then I agree. Votto’s not your guy.

        Now, if your post is to say that the Reds won’t be competing anytime in say, the next 5-6 years, then you may be on to something.

      • Patrick Jeter

        You don’t value walks. You just went ahead and said it. Let me give you two scenarios and tell me which you prefer…

        A: Bases empty, player hits a single
        B: Bases empty, player draws walk

        Which is more valuable?

      • Steve Mancuso

        One more scenario. Which do you prefer for your team?

        A: Player X hits a home run with no one on base.
        B: Player X hits a home run with Player V on base who got on base via walk.

    • christiancuriosities

      I haven’t checked in the last week or so but the last time I checked Vottos OBP was close to .400 which would not only be the best on the Reds team but many teams. BP’s OBP is usually very close to his batting average because he swings at everything and doesn’t walk much. Votto is a compketly different hitter, yes his batting average is down but he still huts for power and gets on base a lot.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I’m not sure you know what regressing means. He had a bad month and a half to start the season. Even guys in their prime have bad months-and-a-half. Since then, he’s been the same 1.000 OPSing Votto.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Made me laugh. I have Dave Chappelle in my head now.

      • christiancuriosities

        Glad someone caught that. 🙂 Of course I wanted to clean it up a little because I don’t wish for anyone to be urinated on in any fashion.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Agreed! No one wins in that situation.

  17. Old-school

    this post is why RLN is the best destination for true Reds Fans. I have nothing to add.
    +100

  18. TR

    Yes, at the half-way season point Brandon Phillips should be relegated to a utility role and the player we got for the fan-favorite who was sent to the White Sox should be in the lineup day in and day out. And if Brayan Price cannot get this done, then he should be replaced with a manager who can get it done.

  19. sandman

    When we started this rebuild I fought tooth and nail against it for several reasons. 1)We were losing our favorite players 2)It meant that we were going to be getting our asses kicked daily 3)A playoff team was being dismantled. I caused myself a lot of anger towards the Reds FO because they were trading away my hero’s. I hate losing for any reason. So I’m still not liking where we’re at. But, I’ve slowly begun accepting this situation we’re in. But something broke in me. As I said previously in response to another article I’m looking at things with a logical mind since that was the driving force behind this stupid rebuild. So, that’s what I’m doing from here on out with everything the Reds do. No anger, just logic (how much sense does this move make). So, it only makes sense to me to never become a personal fan of any more Reds players after Votto & Phillips. No more HERO’S for me bcuz there will come a time when we have to get rid of them because they’ll become, “too expensive for us” or, “it’ll just make sense to get what we can for them when they get older.” So, sensing this pattern that I and so many Reds fans have fallen into about having hero’s and then being sad and angry when they eventually have to leave, I’ve changed my philosophy, I’m guarding my heart so I won’t be mad and angry anymore when they leave. Just makes sense don’t it? So, it’s become my mini mission that, whenever I hear or read someone talking about these new kids becoming our new hero’s, I do what I can to make sure that doesn’t happen bcuz I don’t want you to suffer anger and heartache when they leave. I probably won’t be successful in getting most of you to come over to my side but miracles do happen. For those who do come over to my way of thinking, I appreciate you and welcome you with open arms. Don’t let your kids become too attached to these new players either. Don’t want their little hearts breaking do ya? So please stop with the cute nicknames. Time to grow up and put that stupid crap behind us, don’t you think? You can be happy that they do well for the Reds during their brief time with us and that’s exactly what I’ll do but save yourself some heartache and pain and anger. I know I will.

    • Takao

      It’s fine to believe to yourself that you won’t ever get attached to Reds players, but don’t EVER try to make kids lose their passion or love for players on the team.

      Just because you personally dislike the way the Reds are working right now doesn’t give you the right to discourage kids from enjoying the game or having a favorite player. I don’t have the words for how much I disagree with that.

      Again, your frustrations are your own. Don’t become like Marty or tHom and ruin people’s perceptions of players just because you’ve become bitter. It’s ugly.

      • sandman

        Takao, I understand where you’re coming from, I do. But all I was saying is don’t let your kids get too attached to these players because sometime down the line they’ll more than likely be leaving. Do you want to see a kid in your family or your own kids if you got any, cry and be heart broke when their favorite player leaves. It’s about protecting them from that pain. We all want to protect our children don’t we. It’s not coming from a place of bitterness it’s just logic and it makes sense.

      • Takao

        Please don’t “think of the children!” to me. Kids need to know that their favorite team doesn’t always win, but they always have to stick by them; otherwise, you raise fair weather fans.

        It’s fine for kids to have heroes. They’ll eventually realize that nothing is permanent. I grew up in the mid-2000s, so I became a Reds fan when we sucked. If my father had told me, “Don’t be a fan of Griffey Jr. because he’s going to be traded”, then I might never have become a fan. I may only be 21, but it’s flat out insulting to children to try to “defend them” from the “evil world of business in sports” (or from the world in general). There is no reason for an adult to make a kid lose their enjoyment of the sport. I honestly think it’s a bit selfish to do that.

    • Chuck Schick

      Baseball players are entertainers, they’re not heroes. They possess rare and highly valued skills from an entertainment standpoint.

      Heroes stormed the beach at Normandy…in the face of machine guns ….baseball players are sometimes booed or have morons like me write negative things on blogs they don’t read.

      The Reds don’t know that you…or I… exist. We’re just customers and they’re just part of a product we chose to buy.

      I want my kids to appreciate, admire and respect talent. I hope my son admires that Joey Votto is good at doing something incredibly difficult…. If my son views getting on base as heroic then I haven’t done a very good job.

    • greenmtred

      Sandman, there’s something in what you say. As an older fan, I still reflexively think of players as part of the team for a longish time. It’s easier to develop loyalty and appreciation when the cast of characters on your favorite team is not constantly changing. But I think(hope) that it is possible to still appreciate and support the players on the Reds and to enjoy watching baseball with the added spice of that loyalty. It’s still a great game, isn’t it?

      • sandman

        Greenmtred, I have said that we can still cheer these kids on and even be happy when they do well, even hope that they do well. I’ve got no choice now but to hope that these kids do well and bring us a championship or two or three (fingers crossed) bcuz, even though it may not seem like it, I still do love the Reds. I’ve been following them for 27 yrs now and I have no plans to stop. I just hate losing. There’s nothing fun about losing for me. I do not get pleasure in watching a kid develop. That’s about as much fun as watching a tree grow! I hope that these kids get better one day, but I hate the process and the painstaking waiting for them to develop (if they ever do). Saying it’s fun to watch a player develop (by getting their ass kicked) is like saying that it’s fun to have a red hot iron stuck into my eye. But, like I said earlier, I have no choice but to endure it, I have before (although I was a kid/teenager and the losing was easier to stomach-for me. Most kids probably not). Yes, baseball in general is still a great game and fun. It’s my favorite sport for a reason. But that don’t mean I have to be okay with losing.

  20. Steve Schoenbaechler

    For me, I see this as an individual viewpoint. In the short term, as in, if you want the Reds to win now, then BP is the starter. If you are considering long term, then BP is the bench player.

    Actually, benching him if not DFA him might get him to more readily accept a trade, also. For, if he wants an extension from any team out there, he’s not going to be able to get one very well by not playing.

    • MrRed

      But how’s playing him now helping the team win? He’s below replacement level in terms of his performance.

      And no team is going to be trading for BP now. So that’s off the table. If you’re going to bench him, do it because that’s what’s best for the team now. Much less going forward.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        And, you think there’s someone better than him right now, who can play 2nd better than him, hit better than him, right now? Case done, Brandon is the player at 2nd that gives the Reds the best chance to win now. I never said it was a good chance. So he has a negative replacement level. Anyone else would be even lower than that.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Point is the Reds don’t know how good Peraza is/will be because he isn’t getting to play. The Rebuild is not exclusively about putting the best players on the field. Peraza doesn’t have to be better than Phillips for it to be smart to play him.

  21. Rick

    I think I’m reading it right, are you saying even if the Reds trade Cozart and play Peraza every day at short that Phillips should still be a part time player? Who are you excited to see get time at 2nd base then? Ivan De Jesus? Assuming Cozart does indeed get traded this seems like a non issue to me. Also, “Reds’ players”?

    • Nick Carrington

      If Cozart is traded and the Reds think Peraza is a shortstop, then play him at short. That’s three weeks away and a trade is not definite. Phillips can play second as long as he isn’t blocking a young, middle infielder with potential. Right now, he is.

  22. Charlie Thomas

    No one with any potential that Phillips is blocking. Peraza can’t hit.

    • greenmtred

      We don’t know that Peraza can’t hit. He’s young, and hitting is a learned skill.

    • Patrick Jeter

      A guy who has been average-ish or above-average at every minor league stop while being several years below average age “can’t hit.” Just straight up “can’t hit” and has no potential.

      I’m glad you have everything figured out.

  23. Scott E. Disney

    Hairline fracture for Phillips. Probably a trip to the DL?

  24. VaRedsFan

    That 3-week mark Cossack made reference to above, coincides to about the time that BP fouled 2 consecutive balls off his shin, then was later hit in the fingers by a pitch and had to come out of the game.

    Everybody wants to give players (Bruce, Votto, and Mez) passes for their injuries, but it seems like BP never gets that benefit of the doubt.

    The numbers appear to show that BP was in decline in 2013 and 2014. If you look deeper, BP was off to a great start before being hit in the hand against the Pirates around mid-season. The numbers fell off drastically after that. Coincidence? Again in 2014, BP dove for a ball and tore ligaments in his thumb, and he wasn’t the same for the rest of the year.

    Maybe he has too much heart because he tries to play through injury, when it would be better if he didn’t. Maybe BP hides his injuries because he fears losing his job because of it. People need to dig a little deeper than to just say he’s washed up, has-been.

    Is it possible that Price is being told to play BP? Perhaps to increase trade value? What message is sent to other teams that are shopping, if our product is sitting on the bench?

    • Dan

      This is so true. BP gets no benefit of the excuse card like Votto, Bruce, or Mesoraco. Votto isn’t aging so well himself. He will be even worse next year when pitchers can just throw heaters by him. Joey already runs like he is wearing adult diapers that need changing. Mesoraco will never be relevant again. Trade em all if you can.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Dan, where is your data to suggest Votto isn’t aging well? He just had an MVP-level season at 31 last year, and then started the season off slow at 32. And oh by the way, even though he started off “slow” he was hitting the ball hard more consistently than ever. Hitting the ball hard is good, right? Since then, he’s been the same guy as always.

        We know you don’t value walks, but your opinion seems to be based on nothing of substance, just your own bias against Votto.

      • redsfan2016

        Patrick, you dropped the gauntlet. I love it.

    • greenmtred

      Good point about the injuries, but it’s hard to argue that BP–even healthy–would be a significant contributor on a contending Reds team in two or three years.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Injuries (and the speed at which players rebound) are a byproduct of aging.

      I don’t think anyone is judging Phillips negatively. He’s just going through a normal aging process. It’s not like he’s the one player that’s going to play great until he’s 50. What is happening to him is normal. No one is cheering for it, just pointing it out. The criticism is on the Reds for not handling it smarter.

      • Shchi Cossack

        I tried to get this comment added to the post, but the Old Cossack’s Old Computer kept getting in the way.

        As Steve so succintly pointed out, the criticism regarding Phillips playing time is not a criticism of Phillips. It is a criticism of the Reds management’s handling of the situation. The injury issues associated with Phillips also results in a criticism of the Reds management’s handling of the situation.

        I believe Phillips has always played 100% between the lines. I personally didn’t enjoy the artificial flare he used many times, but that was not an effort issue, just a style issue. I also believe the evidence is very clear that Phillips can no longer produce offensively anywhere close to league average and defensively at no better than league average. It happens to every player. Just because Phillips’ persona and style can be a lightning rod for debate, doesn’t make him immune to the negative impact of aging.

        I ached emotionally when it happened to Johnny Bench, but eventually accepted the reality of the situation and relished the opportunity as a fan to share his career as the greatest catcher in baseball history. I felt the same emotional disappointment regarding Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Klu, O’Toole, Pinson, Cardenas, Concepcion, Griffey Jr., Soto & Rijo. It happens.

      • VaRedsFan

        @ Steve…I hear ya on the age/recovery time of your point. #truth. But Brandon’s injuries have not been age related. HBP’s and and dinged up thumb due to diving for a ball aren’t age-dependent. I believe, knees,back,shoulders, hamstrings, and groins would fall under the aging injuries.

        But to echo yours and Cossack’s point…I don’t think the Reds have handled it well. Rehabbing the dings better and more days off for the aging BP

      • greenmtred

        All of those injuries can happen to players of any age, but recovery time is probably shorter for younger people, and susceptibility to injury is probably greater for older players for several reasons (slower reaction time, compensation for chronic injury).

  25. Playtowin

    Phillips is over the hill. Worse is the # of Reds high draft picks who appear to be busts…Ervin,,Blandino, Travieso, Howard. Why spend $7 million on a good field no-hit SS that is $3 million more than teams spent on other higher rated players in the International draft. Why draft 2 catchers in back to back drafts with high picks? Are Winker and Stephenson really top prospects? At the moment they are not passing the smell test. Will any team give the Reds a stud young player for any combination of Reds players on the MLB roster or in the minor leagues? Senzel better be very good.

    • redsfan2016

      What do you base the fact that they’re busts off of? You never know if someone is a bust until they play at the major league level. Have you ever seen Votto’s stats in the minors? I mean jeez, he was a catcher at one point. people are so quick to jump the gun with negativity, and this blog is not a place for that.

  26. Gaffer

    Phillips injury may be a blessing for this club.