This trade wasn’t about “baseball economics.” It wasn’t a salary dump. In fact, just the opposite. The Reds are reportedly paying $13 million of the $14 million Brandon Phillips is owed in 2017. Ownership and front office put baseball considerations ahead of financial concerns.
This trade wasn’t about the players the Reds acquired in return. If either Andrew McKirahan or Carlos Portuondo make even a tiny contribution to the major league club it will be a surprise to all involved.
For weeks, Dick Williams has talked about the “tough decisions” the Reds front office was prepared to make. As word spread today that one of those decisions would be releasing Phillips at the end of spring training, it became clear the Phillips trade wasn’t even about more playing time for Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera. That was coming one way or another.
Today’s trade was about avoiding an awkward spring training, finding a graceful exit from Cincinnati for Brandon Phillips to his hometown and dodging an uncomfortable and possibly explosive situation right before Opening Day.