The New York Yankees rejected an offer from the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday that involved second baseman Brandon Phillips. Most Yankee fans are probably holding their heads at the fact that the team passed on a gold glove-winning three-time All-Star just days after losing Robinson Cano. However, the Yankees made the right move.
Despite putting up 103 RBIs last season, Phillips has regressed in nearly every hitting category over the last two seasons. At 32 years of age, the career-high RBI total for Phillips is not something that will become a trend in years to come.
Phillips’ batting average has diminished from .300 in 2011, to .281 in 2012 and .261 in 2013. His on-base-percentage, slugging percentage, runs and hits all have similar trends. Phillips’ glove is undoubtedly one of the best in the game, but after securing both Kelly Johnson and Brendan Ryan, the Yankees don’t have a special need for defense.
The proposed trade reportedly involved the Yankees sending Brett Gardner to the Reds. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman stated that he has no desire to trade Gardner, despite receiving numerous phone calls regarding the outfielder since the arrival of Jacoby Ellsbury in the Bronx.
This proves to me that the Yankees are continuing to think long-term this offseason, something the fans can appreciate. Cashman stated on Wednesday that the plan was always to keep Gardner and Ellsbury together in the outfield and create the fastest and most dynamic outfield in MLB. He also said that while he has no desire to move Gardner, he will listen to potential offers.
The Yankees’ primary concern is starting pitching, and they should focus on just that. Losing a crucial piece like Gardner wouldn’t be worth the benefits offered by Phillips. Plus, the Yankees would have to take on a pretty hefty contract if they were to acquire Phillips, who signed an extension last year that will give him $50 million over the next four seasons. If the Yankees are going to break the bank in a trade, it ought to be for pitching and not for an infielder on the decline.