Over the weekend, it was reported that the Cincinnati Reds would be shopping second baseman Brandon Phillips this winter and are likely to trade him. As with any big name player that becomes available this offseason, the New York Mets will probably give consideration to acquiring him. In fact, the Mets have had plenty of interest in Phillips in the past, but at this point, it’s too late for the Mets to be orchestrating a trade for Phillips.
Phillips didn’t have a great season in 2013, but he did hit 18 home runs and had over 100 RBIs, which is the kind of production the Mets could have used in their lineup. However, the Mets just relieved themselves of a lot of payroll and they can’t afford to put Phillips and the $50 million remaining on his contract over the next four years onto their payroll. The Reds would have to be willing to pay a significant portion of that contract for the Mets to consider trading for him.
Also, second base isn’t one of the Mets’ priorities this offseason. Trading for Phillips would certainly be an upgrade at second base, but it would only be the right move to make if they could then trade Daniel Murphy for a player that could fill one of their other needs. Even then, the Mets would be taking a bit of a risk by trading for an older player whose strikeout rate and on-base percentage indicate that his performance may already be in decline.
If the Mets had wanted Phillips, they should have found a way to trade for him years ago, back when they could have put him in the same infield as David Wright and Jose Reyes. There’s little point in trading for him at this point in Phillips’ career; it would just be the Mets making a trade for the sake of making a trade. Unless he comes real cheap, the Mets shouldn’t even consider trading for Phillips this offseason.