Could Washington Nationals Explore Trade For Brandon Phillips?

By Randy Holt
Brandon Phillips
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

As this 2013 season officially winds down, with the 2013 World Series nearly halfway over, trade rumors are already starting to heat up. It’s a thin free agent class this winter, which means that trade rumors will be a bit heavier than usual. Teams that want to add an impact player may have to look to that market, rather than free agency.

One of the more high profile players that could find a new home, and very likely will, is Brandon Phillips. The Cincinnati Reds have already made no secret of the fact that they’ll explore trade options for the veteran second baseman, and the Washington Nationals could be among the teams to inquire.

The Nationals are a team on the cusp in the National League. Much of their 2013 season was a disappointment, and while they managed to catch fire in the tail end of the year, they were unable to grab a Wild Card berth. They’ll try and add some impact talent, and one of the positions that they may be able to add such talent is at second base.

Phillips represents one of the better second basemen in the league, both at the plate and in the field. He’s coming off of a bit of a down year, but his career batting average per 162 games is at .271, while he’s gotten on base at a .320 clip. He’s hit exactly 18 home runs in each of the last four years, and has averaged 20 throughout his career.

At a thin position like second base, Phillips represents one of the better players at his position with the stick. But it’s with his glove that Phillips has really made his living. He’s one of the best defensive players in the game, and is always in the Gold Glove conversation. His defensive WAR over his career is a touch over eight.

It’s important to acknowledge that the Nationals do employ Anthony Rendon. He was solid in his first big league action, and can play all over the infield. The Nats may choose to roll with him at second. If they decide he’s not an option, or choose to move someone like Ian Desmond, which would move Rendon to third, a trade, or at least an exploration of a potential trade for Phillips, isn’t completely out of the question.

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