So Brandon Phillips is playing pretty well, eh?

BP went 3-4 yesterday, and hit two home runs the night before. Two nights before that, he went 3-4 with two doubles. He’s collected at least two hits in five consecutive games. Since July 1, Phillips has hit .336/.360/.464, with a 17-game hitting streak tossed in for good measure.

Let me say right here at the outset that I’m really happy to see Phillips bounce back from a rough stretch at the plate. BP is a Reds legend, and no one is particularly eager to see our heroes age before our eyes. And I know that I’m inviting criticism by writing this just as BP has started to hit again.

Here at Redleg Nation, we have spilled some digital ink lately making the case that it’s time for the Reds to move on from BP at second base. Nick Carrington asked: “Should Brandon Phillips be a part-time player?” Later, I discussed Brandon Phillips and the March of Time:

Currently, Brandon Phillips is hitting .261/.299/.371. His wRC+ is a paltry 74. His wOBA is .293. His OPS+ is 78. He’s below replacement level according to both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference WAR, and that continues a downward trend that we’ve seen every year since 2011, with the exception of last year’s outlier. There’s no rational reason to believe that Phillips is going to improve…unless you believe that Brandon Phillips is going to age like Joe Morgan.

None of this is intended as a criticism of BP’s fine career as a Cincinnati Red. But this is what happens. Players age, and the club is forced to move on at some point.

As far as I can tell, since the turn of the twentieth century, the Reds have never had a 36-year-old starting second baseman. Brandon Phillips will be 36 next year.

The time for making difficult choices has arrived.

Despite trading Jay Bruce for a big-league-ready second baseman (Dilson Herrera) at the trade deadline, the Reds have declined to make that difficult choice. Phillips continues to be the starting second baseman for our favorite club.

But a strange thing has happened. As if to prove that we were all wrong, Phillips decided to go on a tear. He’s now hitting .278/.314/.400 with a 86 wRC+ and a wOBA of .306 (still not great numbers, but much improved anyway). In this piece from C. Trent in the Enquirer, we see that BP is blaming his previous struggles on a toe injury that he suffered back in May:

Phillips hit the wall at full speed to make a catch on a pop-up by Milwaukee’s Hernan Perez in the first inning of an eventual Reds loss. Phillips played the following day in Colorado, leaving that game early and then missing two games before returning.

“Honestly, I think I made a mistake, I should have taken more days off, but I’m hard-headed, it feels better,” Phillips said before Sunday’s game. “I feel the new orthotic that circles the toe really helps me a lot. I kept trying to figure out ways to get it done.”

Phillips said because he was in so much pain, it affected his swing, his first step in the field and running. The most glaring difference, though, was the power. Saturday night, Phillips hit his first home run since May 7, a career-long stretch of 72 games and 286 at-bats when he hit a second-inning home run off of the Pirates’ Ivan Nova. He then homered off of Nova again in the seventh.

So Phillips says that his toe is feeling better and he’s back to being a great player. Color me skeptical. Phillips injured the toe on May 29 in Milwaukee. Before that day, he was hitting just .254/.295/.426. With a healthy toe.

In the ten games after the toe injury, Phillips hit .325/.341/.425, and collected a hit in each of those ten games. With an injured toe. Make of that what you will.

Another RN writer is skeptical, as well:

Here’s the question that interests me: were we wrong when we declared that it was time for the Reds to move on from Brandon Phillips?

Well…no, of course not. Yes, Phillips is hitting better lately, and he has helped the Reds play better baseball since the All-Star break. These are good things! I want to see the Reds win. I’m funny like that. But:

Doug is exactly correct. This brief little stretch of good hitting is only going to complicate things for Reds management. If Reds fans think BP can still play, the team will take a bigger public relations hit when they inevitably decide to move on to Herrera, or whoever the next second baseman is. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a factor, but it is.

We’ve talked a lot about Phillips’ bat, and whether the Reds can justify penciling him into the lineup for the foreseeable future, but there’s a dirty little secret about Brandon Phillips: his defense is declining rapidly too. This part is difficult to accept. For years, Phillips’ defense was as good as anyone in the league, and better than almost everyone we’ve ever seen in Cincinnati. He has won four Gold Gloves, and we all remember spectacular play after spectacular play during his career.

Every defensive metric is showing this decline. Now, there are plenty of valid objections that can be made about these metrics; I report, you decide. But the numbers are unanimous: BP is making far fewer plays with the glove than he did just two years ago. For the first time since his first season with the Reds, says Phillips is below replacement level as a defender (by dWAR). Again, make of that what you will, but…

Father Time is undefeated.

Reds’ management has way more information about all this than I do, and I’m perfectly willing to believe that there is a good reason that the club appears to be afraid to make the decision that needs to be made here. Maybe it’s not just public relations. Maybe they’re just waiting until the off-season, out of respect for a future Reds Hall of Famer. But even after the recent hot streak, Phillips remains one of the least-productive second basemen in the majors, and he’ll be 36 next year.

I really hate to sound like I’m piling onto Brandon Phillips. I really do appreciate what Phillips has been able to achieve as a Red. He’s a future team Hall of Famer, and those don’t come around every day. When his Reds career is over, I’ll be leading the charge to celebrate his time as one of the best second basemen in this club’s long history.

I’m really conflicted here, but I’m allowed to be sentimental. Phillips has been a great Red for a long, long time. The Reds’ front office, however, can not — must not — be ruled by sentimentality when making this decision.

And really there’s only one decision that can be made here. If the Reds were willing to move on from Joe Morgan at age 35, and if they were willing to bench a future Hall of Famer in September of his final season in favor of Felipe Lopez, what’s the argument for allowing Brandon Phillips to keep taking up at-bats at the expense of Herrera? (Admittedly, that Hall of Famer was even older than BP at the time.)

I’m serious here: if you have an argument in favor of BP as the starting second baseman for the rest of this year — and 2017 — I’d love to hear it.

As a Reds fan, I really feel awful typing these words. Phillips has been so much fun to watch over the years! But this is a season to rebuild, and a season to discover what the Reds have, and I simply can not see any alternative to turning over the second base position to Dilson Herrera as soon as possible. September 1, perhaps? That’s when Barry Larkin was benched in favor of his replacement (despite Larkin’s insistence that he wanted to keep playing). Why should BP be any different?

What do I expect to happen? Well, Phillips is signed through next year. Until I see some evidence otherwise, I’m just going to assume that the Reds will continue to delay making the difficult decision that will inevitably be necessary.

I’ll say this: if Dilson Herrera isn’t Cincinnati’s starting second baseman on September 1, then the Reds will have deliberately chosen to delay the rebuilding process out of loyalty to a former star of the team. If Phillips is the starting second baseman next April, then you have my permission to lose faith in management’s seriousness about conducting an actual rebuild in the shortest amount of time possible.

I want to be optimistic, I really do. And I’m trying hard — harder than almost any Reds writer anywhere — to trust the process, and to believe in what Cincinnati’s front office is attempting here.

But I want to see the Reds competing for championships again, soon. Reds’ management says they can be competitive in 2018, and they have made plenty of difficult decisions over the last year, trading away some of the team’s biggest stars. I’m not quite sure why the Brandon Phillips situation is so much different than the others.

When Brandon Phillips refused a trade over the off-season, he put his own desires over the needs of the Cincinnati Reds. That’s fine, he had earned the right to do that, and I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same thing if I had been in his shoes.

Now it’s time for Walt Jocketty and Dick Williams to put the long-term needs of the Reds ahead of what Phillips wants. On September 1, pat Phillips on the back and thank him for everything he’s done for this team. Then tell him that Dilson Herrera is getting his tryout at second base for the foreseeable future.

94 Responses

  1. mdhabel

    Conspiracy theory: the front office is faking an injury to Herrara to delay bringing him up to the big leagues and giving more time to BP

    • Scott E. Disney

      In a similar move, the Reds have really let Yorman Rodriguez disappear from relevance. Delaying the decision on cutting him or calling him up.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yorman has had a slew of injuries this year and set backs when rehabbing. He is currently on rehab assignment and will be up with the team when his assignment is up. No one is delaying anything with Yorman, he’s just had awful luck when it comes to injuries.

      • Scott E. Disney

        I had heard that he was rehabbing in Daytona but then stopped playing all of a sudden. Has he had a setbac k or is he playing rehab games again? I just thought he wasn’t playing now, even in rehab.

      • Scott E. Disney

        Apparently Yrod stopped playing around 7/13 and just came back a couple days ago. It appears he is still in Daytona, but says he might now be in Dayton. I guess he had a setback in late July, but he was hitting pretty well. Does anybody know for sure?

  2. Nick Carrington

    I think this needs to be said about Brandon Phillips: he has aged far more gracefully than most 2B into their 30s and that is impressive in itself. I wrote in my article that he couldn’t be as bad as he had played until that point. The injury likely had some bearing on his performance.

    And yet, the team needs to move on at the beginning of next season at the latest.

    • greenmtred

      Hard to disagree, Nick. I am glad that he’s on a tear, though (made a nice play the other day, too).

    • Chad Dotson

      This is true, and it’s one reason why he’s had such a good career.

      But even Joe Morgan got old eventually.

  3. WVRedlegs

    The ARod situation in NY is somewhat similar to the Reds situation with BP. However it is how the Yankees management is handling their situation that is in stark contrast to the Reds management and their handling of BP.
    Say what you will, but this is strong ownership and management vs. weak ownership and management. The Yankees dictated the terms for ARod. With the Reds, they let BP dictate the terms. The Reds weak front office shows through.
    What a shame.
    On Aug. 2, the Reds should have put BP’s name on the waiver-wire to see if it would have generated any interest, even with his hot-streak going on.

    • Sean Lahman (@seanlahman)

      Nobody’s going to claim BP off waivers and take on that salary. I’m not sure anyone will take him in trade, even if he would accept. The Reds would have to eat a big chunk of the money and take a non-prospect in return. I agree that Reds have to face hard decision of cutting him loose, or at least benching him, if they;re serious about the rebuild.

      • jim t

        if you bench him you have no shot of trading him

      • MrRed

        They aren’t going to get much in a trade for him anyway. The most important thing is to get MLB experience for their prospects. Sit BP and get on with it.

      • WVRedlegs

        In August, we don’t want any team to claim BP off the waiver wire. You can always pull him back from the waiver once.
        If an injury happens for a contending team with their primary 2B this month, the Reds have a chance, albeit a slim, slim, slim one, to offer up BP to make a trade. Presumably, he would have already passed through waivers. If the Reds wait until an injury happens, they may not be able to sneak BP through waivers at that time as a team may claim him just to block the other team from being able to make that trade.
        It would be just a procedural move to put BP on waiver wire early in August. If he passes through, fine, something later could happen. If he doesn’t pass through, you have the chance to pull him back if you want to.

      • Ben

        Jim T, you are right, they are over a barrel. BP is going to get that money no matter who plays second. So why not play the young gun and see what he’s got? BP would probably retire if he knew he was going to be benched for all of next year, and at this point the Reds are probably AT LEAST equally good without him around.

    • jim t

      Your kidding right. First A-rod is not 10 and 5 eligible. BP can veto any trade he doesn’t like. The economics situation between the Reds and Yankees isn’t even close. Them eating his contract as opposed to the Reds eating BP’s is a big factor. The Reds should and will explore every and any trade opportunities for BP as they should instead of cutting him and eating the contract.. He may except one. The only way to make that happen is to play him and hope someone has a role he can fil and one he’ll except. It is very complicated by the fact he can veto every trade. The Reds are not going to throw their hands up and give him the money and say go market yourself. Especially in a year when competing is a after thought. Has nothing to do with them being weak. They are over a barrel.

      • Chuck Schick

        How is A-Rod not 10-5 eligible? He’s been in the league 20 years and with the Yankees since 2004.

      • jim t

        Chuck you right I stand corrected. Economically it still is not close between the yanks and reds

      • MrRed

        The economics of BP’s contract are a sunk cost. Play him or sit him, he is still owed the money under his contract. However, it is more important to give prospects valuable playing experience now than having BP play every day, at replacement level at best, for a team that isn’t in a playoff race.

    • seat101

      I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I read your post. Exactly how have Yankees been stern and firm with Rodriguiz?

      It was MLB which suspended him, not the Yankees. The Yankees folded on the bonuses. Now Bill forever be associated with a cheater home by all accounts is one incredibly unpleasant person.

      • WVRedlegs

        No. I’m just talking about with this situation, they are being steadfast. Noy all the BS in the past with ARod.
        No, I’m talking about Stienbrenner flying in to NY with an agenda with ARod and hammering out a deal within a day for some kind of resolution.
        Reds management will let the BP situation grow into some kind of controversy instead of being pro-active.
        They could do something to honor BP and his years with the Reds as the year plays out and then do something at the last home game of the year to honor him. That is better than trading him or releasing him now or this winter with no recognition of his time. The Reds will have to pay BP his money for next year, but BP loves the recognition too. I don’t know how he could pass up a big night at the end of the season to honor him. All those huge defensive replays being played on the Jumbo Screen one after the other. Would a night like this have as much meaning for BP if it were held in September 2017 with BP being a bench player most of the year?

  4. Dan

    Play him everyday in hopesthat he builds trade.value. in the off season trade him and hopefully the buying team is willing to up the ante to BPS request
    Either way come 2017 he won’t be a starter for the Reds.

    • Nick Carrington

      It seems unlikely that a team will trade for him or that he will accept any trade, but on the long shot it could happen, I think your proposal makes sense. As long as he isn’t the starting 2B on Opening Day 2017.

      There’s also an argument for getting the young guys plate appearances during a rough season like this though, and I think reasonable people could make either argument.

    • Scott E. Disney

      Only problem is that if he starts every game to build value, he will block trade since he sees playing time. But bench him to have BP approve a trade and he has no trade value.

  5. wkuchad

    At this point, I’m fine with BP finishing the year as the starting 2B. No need to waste any of Herrara’s service time. If BP has any trade value whatsoever, trade him this offseason. Make him aware he will be a part-time bench player in 2017 before he makes his decision on whether to accept the trade.

    Though I’m fine with the rest of this year, it would be beyond frustrating to see him as the starter next year. That would show gross incompetence, possibly moreso than how the Chapman trade was handled.

    • renbutler

      I like this post.

      Play him every day until he cools off (whether next week or mid-September). Then sprinkle the future talent in the rest of the season.

      The fans matter, and there are a lot more fans of players than their are fans of production stats. And that particularly something to consider in a difficult season.

      • lwblogger2

        Yes, yes, and yes. No hurry to sit him, especially while he is hot. I’m fine with Hererra getting time at 2B with Peraza at SS in L’ville. Get some chemistry between them and bring them up after Sep 1. Not playing them at that point still isn’t too detrimental as the AAA season is over anyway at that point.

        The rest of the baseball world is watching too. A lot of the baseball world still sees a productive player, especially since he got hot.

  6. terry ball

    It is amazing that people are so hard on BP it’s not like he’s a 200 hitter I still take him over most he will be missed and he’s time went so fast

    • Patrick Jeter

      The argument isn’t that BP is a bad hitter, it’s that he’s blocking other players at 2B who might be the next regular 2nd basemen of a good Reds team in 2018/2019.

      The management needs time to evaluate these guys to see if they will or won’t work out. By playing BP every day, the evaluation process is delayed. If Herrera/Peraza/Whoever turns out NOT to be the answer, then the Reds may not find out until later, thus delaying the finding/acquiring of the actual answer.

      Even if BP were a .300 hitter who hit bombs all over the field, he is still hurting the Reds rebuild process by his mere existence. But, that’s not his fault. The Reds gave him a contract. BP is simply doing what any player would want to do… play. I don’t for a second blame BP for wanting to play. I blame management for coddling his desire to play every game.

  7. Yippee

    Still 6 HR’s and 9 SB’s away from the elite 200/200 club….I honestly don’t see how benching BP on 9/1 serves any long-term purpose for the Reds organization or his eventual replacement. It only fosters ill-will and creates a very awkward situation for the team…let him play out the rest of the season.

    But, in the offseason, approach him with an ultimatum. Give him 3 options: 1) Accept a trade out of town 2) Accept being a part-time player while Herrera/Suarez/Peraza/etc. becomes the starter or 3) Retire as a Red…BP holds all the trade cards, he won’t go anywhere unless he wants to. Have to give him the incentive to leave and make it a good incentive. If he stays, bench him. If he creates a problem next season in the clubhouse, DFA him.

    • Patrick Jeter

      I’m not sure how “elite” the 200/200 club is. Seems pretty dubious considering a guy with 200 SB and only a 70% success rate has added zero value with his base stealing.

      • Yippee

        Fairly elite, less than 50 MLB players all time on that list.

      • renbutler

        So, elite, but not terribly meaningful, like hitting for the cycle or turning an unassisted triple play.

      • Yippee

        Well, that may be true, but the 46 guys on the list all had pretty good careers. Only 8 guys ever reached the 300/300 mark. Is that elite?

        Barry Bonds
        Alex Rodriguez
        Andre Dawson
        Carlos Beltran
        Bobby Bonds
        Willie Mays
        Reggie Sanders
        Steve Finley

      • Patrick Jeter

        Right, and it’s still much, much, much less valuable than someone who hit 250 homers and didn’t steal a single base.

        it most definitely is not elite. It might be “exclusive,” but elite and exclusive aren’t synonyms.

      • Patrick Jeter

        I guess my point is that stolen bases and home runs are two arbitrary statistics put together to decrease the sample size meeting those requirements, creating false scarcity.

        So, that list of 300/300 guys is almost exclusively HOF caliber players, so yes, they are good players and it is hard to get 300/300, but there no reason to celebrate 300/300 while not celebrating a guy who did 350/75 or something like that, because 350/75 is more valuable than 300/300 assuming a good success rate like 80% or so on the SBs.

        So if BP makes 200/200, good for him, but personally it doesn’t impress me that much, regardless of how few people did it.

      • lwblogger2

        But you’d be stunned how many people don’t take that success rate into consideration.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Exactly. Votto could steal 100 bases in a season EASILY if he ran every single time he got on base. Probably 125.

        And that would be pretty much just on catcher’s throwing the ball in the dirt or high or wide.

        And it would make him the worst player in baseball because he’d get thrown out 200 times while stealing 100.

    • lwblogger2

      This makes a world of sense to me.

  8. Hotto4Votto

    I think you’re exactly right about Phillips having the right to put his needs above the team and excercize his 10-5 rights. I may not like it as a Reds fan because it costs development time for future players, and possibly makes the current on-field team worse. But, the Reds should have had a little foresight and saw this problem a few years ago. Phillips earned his veto power.

    In the same way, the Reds have the right to put their needs first. They need to start playing their young guys that are currently blocked. They need to give these guys time to adjust to the league.

    Anyone who argues With Phillips has the right to excercize his rights must also acknowledge the Reds have the right to sit him in favor of expediting the rebuild. If anything they owe it to the fans to make it move along as smoothly and quickly as possible.

    • jim t

      When the reds signed BP they were still in their window of contending. If he was let go with no replacement on those teams fans would have been screaming. Just like those who say we should never have signed Joey. Hindsight is always 20/20. They also didn’t factor in how it would look while renegotiating a new TV deal. Lots of moving parts. Fans always think it is so simple.

      • Hotto4Votto

        It’s not hindsight if you knew at the time it would be bad on the backend and said as much. Myself and several others on here were against the extension at the time for the very reason that it would extend into his decline years. And at the time, the Reds had a young Billy Hamilton and Gregarious in the minors as middle infielders that could have stepped in and played 2B once Phillips original deal was up. They had built in replacements in house that fans were excited to see.

      • eric3287

        Yes, the Reds were in their window of contention when they extended BP. But I think, looking at the bigger picture, would the Reds have extended their own window by spending that money elsewhere and those resources elsewhere.

        What would the 2011 deadline had looked like had the Reds been dangling BP to contending teams? They had a young Billy Hamilton in their system who already looked like he might not have the arm for SS. They had Cozart and Janish and Frazier as middle infielders also.

        I’m not saying it would have worked out, or that they’d be contending now, but that’s just one move. If the Reds had a proactive front office that looked to maximize talent and dollars, we probably wouldn’t be in this situation right now.

        Look at the St. Louis Cardinals roster from 2013 (their last WS appearance) vs. now. No Allen Craig, no Pete Kozma, no David Freese, no Jon Jay, no Descalso or Beltran or Shelby Miller. Can you imagine if a Reds player had a WS like Freese had in 2011 the front office ever getting rid of him?

        Take a look at St. Louis’s 40 man roster and top prospect list from 2007. You will quickly see why they got rid of Walt Jocketty and shake your head in disbelief that the Reds have held on to him this long.

  9. cupofcoffee1955

    If you have an argument in favor of BP as the starting second baseman for the rest of this year — and 2017 — I’d love to hear it.

    I don’t have any arguments in favor of BP. Chad, you make perfect sense. I like BP and always have. BP is a Reds’ HOF. I believe he is the Reds’ second best all-time 2B (behind Joe Morgan).

    However, it is time for a new 2B. If Herrera isn’t playing by September 1, you have to question this rebuild. You have to question this FO & even Bob C.

    • jim t

      Here is the argument. They owe him a bunch of money and in order to keep the window of opportunity open to trade him he must play. He will certainly clear waivers this year with what is owed him and if a contending team has a injury he may very well be Tradeable Next year is a different story.

      • mdhabel

        He is not getting traded. If he was going to have accepted a trade, it would have been to the contending Nationals with Dusty as manager. He is not accepting a trade anywhere.

      • renbutler

        He didn’t accept a trade, but then again, he remained an everyday starter this season.

        Maybe he WILL accept a trade if it means being a regular starter…

      • Chad Dotson

        Perhaps. But is there another big league team that will be eager to trade for AND START a 36-year old middle infielder?

      • Chad Dotson

        I guess I’m operating under the assumption that a trade is highly unlikely to happen. For two reasons: (a) BP has already demonstrated that he won’t agree to a trade and (b) why would any team trade for him after the year he’s had?

        But certainly a trade would be the best scenario, IMO.

      • lwblogger2

        Circumstances are a bit different this offseason though. Biggest difference is that the Reds have plenty of guys to use at 2B and last off-season they didn’t even know if Cozart would be back. Maybe this off-season, if they can work something out with another team, they might be willing to pony up whatever money that BP wanted to waive his no-trade?

        It is a long shot though. If BP is the Reds starting 2B going into 2017, the smart fan in me will be disappointed that the Reds are delaying the rebuild. The sentimental fan in me won’t mind so much on the other hand.

  10. Chuck Schick

    There is a fine line between sentiment, pragmatism and cold, rationale action.

    I don’t think the Reds have a sentimental connection to BP. He called the owner a liar and they’ve actually traded him 3 times in the past 3 years.

    The cold, rationale thing is to DFA him…but is that pragmatic? He’s been an excellent player who happens to not look like someone hanging out at the Kenwood Country Club. Given the Reds history in how minority players have ended their careers…do they really want to cross that bridge? Trading Perez ( then firing him for going 20-23 as a manger)…..letting Morgan go, the disaster that was the end of the Larkin era…trading Frank Robinson…trading Eric Davis. Meanwhile, Johnny Bench averaged .76 WAR his last 3 years and would probably still be on the roster at age 70 if he wanted to be.

    All of the aforementioned situations have a lot of context and there were ample reasons to make the decisions that were made. Has any minority great Red player…even Larkin….felt like Cal Ripken, Jeter, Rivera or Tony Gwynn? Probably not.

    I’m reasonably sure that Bob C and the Williams family are terrified about messing up BP’s departure. At this point, BP is walking that fine line between being good enough to play and not good enough to actually help. If they play him every day he’ll eventually play himself out of the lineup and everyone will be able to move on.

    • WVRedlegs

      I see your point and validity of the PR risks. But honestly, other than on the Big Red Machine, name me one Reds player, especially since the free agent era started, who fits the criteria of a Ripken, Jeter, Rivera, and Gwynn. There isn’t one player black, white, brown, green, purple, or orange, other than Larkin, that even comes close. You are talking HOF, umpteen years in MLB with the same team, umpteen years as an all-star, and many league awards and titles won. I don’t see a similar comparison for the Reds under that criteria, but Larkin comes close.

      • greenmtred

        Yeah, Larkin sure does come close.

    • Yippee

      The casual/average Reds fan likes and appreciates BP. Most posts at RLN concerning BP tend to fall on the “get rid / bench him” side of the fence, but in terms of all of Reds fandom, those sentiments might very well be in the minority…

      • Chad Dotson

        I’d almost guarantee that the “average fan” (whatever that means) wants BP to be the starting second baseman in 2017.

    • lwblogger2

      “I’m reasonably sure that Bob C and the Williams family are terrified about messing up BP’s departure. At this point, BP is walking that fine line between being good enough to play and not good enough to actually help. If they play him every day he’ll eventually play himself out of the lineup and everyone will be able to move on.”

      Brilliantly put.

  11. james garrett

    There are a bunch of reasons why BP shouldn’t be starting this year or next and they have been discussed on here time after time but it doesn’t matter.This is one of those cases where the player continues to call the shots regardless of his play on the field.No player or players should be bigger then the team but in this case they are but I am clueless as to why.I loved what he brought to this team but he always has done what he wants to do and it appears it will continue.The really sad part is he still thinks he can when all the data shows he can’t.He swings early and often and cheats on the fastball,his base running is and has always been questionable and finally his defense his declining at a rapid pace.

    • VaRedsFan

      What’s your source that he is calling the shots? What is he “always doing what he wants to”…and the source you are citing, that he does. FACTS have been presenting by C.Trent and several others, that he is very productive when healthy, as evident this past month, and the opening of the season, 2015 pre injury,…2014 pre injury

  12. jim t

    I would think that the reds have had to have talked to BP about trading him. I’m certain he has given them some guidelines. Probably one is the gaining team will need to extend him. Certainly his right under the collective bargaining agreement. With that said to move him you must play him. I also agree with Chuck that it is a very sensitive issue from a PR point of view. My guess is if the reds can not find a club willing to take him and he is willing to go to this off season they will give him his release.

  13. another bob in nc

    “The Reds’ front office, however, can not — must not — be ruled by sentimentality when making this decision.”

    Amen. The length of his current contract seems to have been ruled by sentimentality.

    • jim t

      The length of his contact was ruled by the fact they wanted to sign him. He was a free agent. I highly doubt he would have accepted less. They wanted to sign him. At that time he was playing well and they were a contending team.

      • Patrick Jeter

        Yep. Pretty much.

        In this current era, virtually every FA signing will include dead years at the end. Because if you, as a team, don’t give the player the extra years, someone else likely will and you lose ’em. So if you want your guy, you have to buy some/all of his decline years also.

      • MrRed

        But the corollary to this truth is that in the decline years, the team must make a decision on whether to sit an aging vet in favor of a younger, more promising player. It’s really a sunk cost in terms of an economic decision. The money’s already been spent. It just comes down to the team’s goals on the field, along with some PR and locker room morale considerations.

      • greenmtred

        The ageing player is a sunk cost, but the cost of the younger one may not be, particularly when you factor in service time considerations, as well as the need to field an appealing team so that fans will pay to watch it.

      • MrRed

        We’re working on the assumption that the younger guys in this case are ready for their audition. And, we’re late enough in the season where service time considerations should not be controlling the decision.

  14. ohiojimw

    The Yanks have shown the way. BP has publicly referred to his current contract as his “last contract”. Take him at his word. Call him in and offer him “retirement” at the end of the year with full payment of the remaining contract money and an official send off on the last home stand versus being released after the season (and still getting his payout per the contract and CBA).

    • VaRedsFan

      This is probably the best solution.

  15. seat101

    Let’s get to first principles here, shall we?

    Is there damage to the Reds by playing Brandon Phillips as the starting second baseman for the rest of this year? I think there are two areas where there is quantifiable damage:
    1) Phillips is not contributing to the Reds as much as a replacement player would,

    2) Phillips is blocking someone else from becoming a better Reds second baseman in future years because Phillips is reducing this players major-league playing time.

    Let’s assume, are arguendo, that the money being paid to Brandon Phillips this season and next was earned by his play in previous years. Other than aesthetically, how much damage is Brandon Phillips actually doing the team now?

    • Yippee

      Let’s hope it’s not Peraza, he makes Juan Castro look like the next Barry Larkin.

      • lwblogger2

        I’m not a big fan of Peraza’s but why do you think he’s that bad? I think he’ll hit better than Juan Castro. You don’t think so?

    • greenmtred

      I understand your argument, but both of your assertions are only possibly true, not givens.

      • brmreturns

        Both are 100% factually true.

        1) BP is NOT playing anywhere near replacement level…. even with his recent surge.

        2) Practice makes perfect…. his playing time has a direct correlation on the playing time of others. Seat didn’t say that the player being blocked would become better than BP, only that BP is blocking someone else from becoming better….. which is 10000% accurate.

      • citizen54

        You’re confusing replacement level with league average. BP is playing better than a replacement player. Anything above 0 WAR is better than a replacement player.

      • VaRedsFan

        1) Not true…Since he has been healthy….and since July 1st…..Phillips has hit .336/.360/.464…..your replacement level player is an all star? LOL

  16. ohiojimw

    On a related but slightly separate line, yesterday on the Reds radio beat reporter segment, C,Trent made a very good point about Phillips (and others) playing when they are injured to the degree that it hurts the team for them to continue to play.

    He stated that the player should always want to be on the field and that it was up to the team, the manager specifically in consultation with the Docs and trainers, to sit a guy when he needed to be out of the line up.

    • Chad Dotson

      I heard that discussion, and Trent was right (and Marty agreed with him).

      I’ve long been frustrated by Brandon Phillips trying to play through injuries, because he inevitably hurts the team when he does that. But I wasn’t frustrated with Brandon…that desire to be on the field is admirable, IMO. It’s the way I’d probably be, if big league teams had been smart enough to draft me out of high school (alas, they weren’t). As Brandon put it, you only get one career, so you should want to be on the field as much as possible.

      But the team has to have the final word in these matters. Too often, it seems (from the outside, to be sure) that the player dictates these decisions.

      It’s a similar argument to the “no sentimentality” position I put forward in the post above.

      • Yippee

        Agreed. This is the same team that allowed Votto and Bruce to hobble around when they should have been sat down for extended rest in recently gone by seasons.

      • gaffer

        Where I fault BP is that if they were to sit him (or hit him lower in order) he will throw a fit and poute around. I think Reds managers have always been afraid of him because he can really ruin the clubhouse.

      • VaRedsFan

        Where’s your proof that he will throw a fit and pout? He was moved down to 6th…never heard a peep. People like to make things up, because he cussed out a reporter one time.

    • VaRedsFan

      EXACTLY OJim…I’ve been hollering that all year. Don’t blame BP because the manager is sticking him out there at less than 100%

  17. TR

    I think the Reds should start Phillips for the rest of the season if he’s injury free. If Brandon is still around come April 2017, he should be used as a utility player, and if there is a problem with that then Phillips should be paid and cut loose. In 2017 the Reds should be full steam ahead with the rebuild.

  18. Sliotar

    Has Phillips be asked recently if there are a list of teams he would consider being traded to? And, if so, would the Reds consider taking back some salary to move him to one of those teams?

    If the answers to the above questions are “no”, then perhaps the Reds internally don’t think they will be competitive until at least 2019. Some different issues, for sure, but the San Diego Padres have recently undertaken radical steps to clear out veterans and create playing time for prospects.

    As this site has pointed out, there is a future logjam in the infield, plus the sorting out of the all the pitching arms. Getting everyone in their proper roles, getting them blooded and being competitive in less than 24 months seems awfully aggressive, with or without Phillips.

  19. Eric Sammons

    I didn’t notice anyone mention this possibility: the Reds are playing BP not out of sentimentality, but out of *fear*. They are afraid he will become a complete cancer in the clubhouse and they don’t think Price has the ability to control that situation. Let’s be honest, BP has shown a history of putting himself first, and he can get nasty. The Reds front office might not want such a scenario unfolding in front of their young players.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m not certain that BP would be a giant cancer. If he is, at that point, BP most certainly would give the Reds all the ammunition they need to release him without taking a PR or baseball credibility hit.

      • ericsammons

        I’m also not certain he would be a cancer, but I think it is certainly possible, and could enter into the Reds’ thinking.

        And a player can be a cancer without it becoming know to the public – so it would still be a PR hit.

  20. Nick Kirby

    I have 3 points:

    1) Larkin hit .289/.352/.419 at age 40 and got benched. That is incredible. That in itself should be reason enough to not allow “sentimental value” to rule a decision.

    2) I have a hard time believing that if you told Phillips and his agent “if you don’t accept a trade you will be cut” that Phillips would still not accept. He is a proud man, doubt he wants to be cut.

    3) I am not a Phillips fan, but I don’t think Herrera or Peraza are ready. I have a philosophy that you don’t call up players when they are knocking on the door, you call them up when they kick the door down. Peraza has a .316 OBP and .668 OPS at AAA, and Herrera is at .311 and .677. No need to waste service time during a rebuild on guys who are hitting below average at AAA.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Amazing that Larkin was benched with that line… I guess a .771 OBP at the end of the steroid era really wasn’t anything grand.

      Regarding #3, I agree with your general premise that players shouldn’t be called up until they are overwhelmingly ready, but I think that more applies to situations where a team is still competing. Calling up a top prospect during a playoff push can pay dividends, but only if he’s busting down the door.

      In the Reds situation, it doesn’t matter if Peraza/Herrera wouldn’t be great. Their performance in 2016 would have been inconsequential. So, I guess it comes down to 1) can they still learn/progress at MLB vice AAA, and 2) does the team care about a theoretical extra year of service time for a light hitting middle IF combo who will be super cheap through arbitration anyways.

    • Chettmixx

      You should note that after Larkin was “benched” the Reds played Fillipe Lopez, Alex Gonzalez, Paul Yanish, Jeff Keppinger and Orlando Cabrera. Some where prospect hopefuls and some where mid career fill ins. It took 8 years to get to Cozart and it’s not like Cozart’s a perennial all star. So here’s my points:

      1. Show some respect for a loyal fan favorite who has been an all star and a perennial gold glover.

      2. There is worth in image and product when you allow guys like Jeter and Ozzie Smith to play out their careers

      3. The talent pool gathered from all of these horrible trades could have been used to build a stronger outfield, shortstop or 3rd base. We didn’t need 3 prospects for 2nd base that where “MLB ready”

      4. My most important point, the Reds didn’t need to scrap and rebuild the team. It had plenty of great talent. In my opinion the bench and the bullpens were the only issues. The Reds freaked out over a rising Cubs threat and 2 years of unfortunate injuries. Dusty Baker is a casualty of bad decision making as well. It’s a possibility that this Reds team might not see a playoff for the remaining time that we have Votto and that’s a bit sad because Votto in a Reds uniform in the World Series would be an amazing thing to watch. But the ownership and management of this team has destroyed the possibility of that happening.

  21. Bea

    There’s no mention of Brandon playing with a broken finger on defense, as Coach Bryan Price reported a few weeks back. That would certainly explain the probable short term defensive glitch! Can we leave NO great players on our team to still love and build around? Geez tired of ghost town!

    • Patrick Jeter

      BP’s defensive decline has been going on for years. The broken finger sure didn’t help, I bet, but he’s not the same guy.

  22. Jay King

    So my question is this…. What happens if he keeps up this pace the rest of the season and his defense ends up stellar again for the rest of the way.. I Personally think the Reds are a good 2 to 3 more years away from truly being contenders. Would it kill us to have Phillips play out his contract. He probably won’t be as good as his past stats but honestly if he hit oh 270ish and had on base around .300 to .320 and hit say 12 to 15 home runs next year is that really a bad thing. I know we have a log jam in the middle infield and we all wanna see what these guys can do in the majors.

    I still think they should let Phillips play 3 to 4 days a week and slowly move the new guys into more playing time.

  23. Chettmixx

    A majority of you have over the past year wanted BP, Votto, Bruce and Hamilton benched/traded. Years ago it was the same situation with Dusty Baker. We can’t continue to give up on talent because a player is injured or doesn’t match a certain prototype. BP has put his heart and soul into the game and the city, let him retire a Red. The only thing the Reds needed before they traded Cueto, Chapman, Bruce and Frazier was simply a healthy season, a better bench and a better bullpen. None of the current situation is BPs fault so let’s stop acting like he’s screwing the Reds.

  24. lwblogger2

    We can argue night and day about rather it’s right or not but, if the Reds release BP, as he’s currently hitting .279, 8 HR, 45 RBI in 102 games (most of the team’s games), as he’s currently slashing .279/.316/.402, and as he’s currently at least has a perception that he’s playing decent defense, there will be a PR hit and a hit among the baseball community that the Reds flat out released a productive player in the name of a rebuild. That isn’t going to sit well at all. Best to try to do something with him in the off-season or hope he goes into a massive slump again if the Reds really want him gone.

    The situation with BP is not like the situation with Rodriguez. He’s primarily a DH, who’s main job is to hit and he’s slashing .204/.252/.356. It’s pretty easy to understand that he isn’t being productive.