MLB Cincinnati Reds

2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 5 Potential Landing Spots for Brandon Phillips

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2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 5 Potential Landing Spots for Brandon Phillips

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds have made it to the postseason two years in a row with very little success. In 2012, they were up 2-0 against the San Francisco Giants and lost the series to the eventual World Series Champions 3-2. In 2013, they faced division rival Pittsburgh in a one game playoff and lost 6-2.

The Reds have the talent to make it to the postseason but not enough to make a run at the World Series. They have built their team around two big left-handed bats in Joey Votto and Jay Bruce as well as their starting rotation which is anchored by Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey. They have one of the best closers in baseball in Aroldis Chapman and a nice infusion of young talent with Billy Hamilton, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco.

Their longest tenured player is second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has been with them since 2006. He continues to be one of the most productive and consistent second baseman in all of baseball and a perennial Gold Glover and All-Star. He has hit exactly 18 home runs four years in a row and at least 17 every year he has been with the Reds.

Phillips had his best season in 2007 when he hit .288 with 30 home runs and had 94 RBI. That year he stole a career-high 32 bases on 40 attempts and scored a career-high 107 runs. In 2013, Phillips had a career-high 103 RBI but saw a considerable drop in his OBP and Slugging Percentage. He also stole only five bases compared to 15 the year before which shows a decline in his speed

With Phillips’ ability starting to decline and him getting towards the age where his numbers will drop, the Reds are looking to trade him. He is still one of the top 10 second baseman in baseball, but his contract will make it difficult to move him. He signed a six-year, $72.5 million contract in 2012 which will run out after the 2017 season. The amount of money they have allotted to Bruce and Votto as well as Latos will make it difficult to pay Phillips any longer, and these five teams could make a run at him.

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5. Oakland Athletics

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It is a long shot with Oakland already having paid Scott Kazmir and Jim Johnson a combined $22 million for this season. However, if they can work out a deal with Cincinnati it would be an immediate upgrade from Eric Sogard at second base. Oakland has the young pitching that Cincinnati might covet to pull off a deal where the Reds eat a lot of the contract.

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4. Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are in on every player that is available in baseball. Cincinnati and Los Angeles could work out a deal where Brandon Phillips goes to Los Angeles with a prospect and Matt Kemp goes to Cincinnati. Phillips would take over at second for Mark Ellis, and the Dodgers would be able to shed themselves of Kemp's contract to have an outfield of Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. Kemp would give the Reds and power right-handed bat to hit between Votto and Bruce, and he could play left field to lessen the chance of an injury.

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3. Baltimore Orioles

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The Baltimore Orioles have a hole at second base with Brian Roberts not having contributed in a few years. Ryan Flaherty is a decent player, but Phillips would give them the best defensive second baseman in baseball and allow them to drop Manny Machado down to third in the lineup.

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2. Atlanta Braves

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This seems simple from my point of view. A straight up swap of Dan Uggla for Brandon Phillips. This would give the Braves a reliable second baseman, something that they didn't have last year. The Reds in turn would get out of Phillips contract and be stuck with Uggla until only 2015. Uggla still provides power, and at the Great American Ballpark he could find himself back at 30 home runs.

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1. New York Yankees

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After losing Robinson Cano, the New York Yankees have been able to get outfielders like Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury to provide offense and a catcher in Brian McCann. They still have a huge hole at second base and could swap Brett Gardener for Phillips if they are willing to eat his entire contract. Gardner is expendable with Ichiro, Ellsbury, Beltran and Alfonso Soriano, and he could help the Reds in left field. The Yankees may not want to pay the entire contract that is owed to Phillips, but it makes sense for them to pick up most of it.