The Cincinnati Reds have tried to trade Brandon Phillips once again. This is at least the third time that the organization has completed a trade of Phillips that he’s invoked his 10-and-5 rights to veto. This time the Reds had him traded to his hometown of Atlanta. Phillips said no, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

For Phillips, though, the issue is not simply money, sources say.

He considers his refusal to accept a deal to be a matter of principle, and would want the team to address certain, unspecified issues before waiving his no-trade protection, sources say.

If he doesn’t want more money, and he’s going to another team, then what possibly could he actually want? Maybe someone has a better idea, but I simply can’t come up with something if it’s not either a raise or an extension. Both of those would be considered “more money”, though.

Is Brandon Phillips being spiteful because he felt the Reds lied to him when he agreed to their original contract? Now he’s simply refusing trades so they have to pay him every last cent? I honestly don’t know, but that’s the best I can come up with given the circumstances.

The Reds have tried, hard, to move on from Phillips. They acquired Jose Peraza and called him the future second baseman. They then traded Phillips, twice, in the offseason to try and make it happen. He vetoed both deals, which worked out great for the Nationals. The team then acquired Dilson Herrera in July and said HE was the second baseman of the future. They once again traded Phillips, only to be vetoed again.

Brandon Phillips is a free agent after the 2017 season. At this point there are four options: Cut him. Bench him. Play him every day. Or cave in to whatever his demands are. That last one doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen since they’ve now been unable to get him to agree to be traded three times. That we know of. The first two could lead to bad public relations, as Phillips is a fan favorite. It’s also not like he’s not a solid player still. He’s certainly not the guy he used to be, but he wasn’t exactly bad, either, in 2016. It’s just time for the Reds to move forward and Phillips is not letting that happen. They’ve got to figure something out.

65 Responses

  1. MikeD

    Oh my gosh! Cut him! Truly he is becoming a pain and even the owner can’t allow for him to totally dictate the situation. I get the fact that he earned this right, but the Reds need to move on.

  2. Colt Holt

    Just because it isnt about money doesnt mean it isnt a part of the resolution. This would certainly appear to come back to the Joey Votto extension as the most likely unspecified issue. If so, resolution could be in the form of an extension, not because he wants more money, but because, in principle, he wasn’t spoken to honestly, in his opinion

    • Gaffer

      That just shows you his lunacy. He got freeking 60 million, which he was likely not getting from anyone else. He wanted Votto money because he thinks he is as good as Joey. He is dead wrong.

      • Doug Gray

        I think he would have gotten that from someone else if he hit the market at that time.

      • Mjc

        Doug ,that’s not a fare statement he wasn’t a free agent at the time. Free agency boosts about everyone’s value every decent player in baseball could get there year 4-5 years matched if they were in the market .fact is he wasnt

      • Doug Gray

        It’s not a fair statement that I think he would have gotten the same deal on the open market? Am I missing something?

      • Doug Gray

        I’m not sure what that has to do with anything that was said, though.

  3. fromcubawithluv

    Brandon Phillips will be a Reds Hall of Famer, and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching him play, BUT I really wish he would go away.

  4. Gaffer

    I have no problem trying to trade him again, and again before March. But, there is no way he can come to spring training. He needs to be cut if they can’t trade him. The money is spent and no one is giving up a prospect. You lose nothing.

    The thing that kills me is they had a window to trade him before the 10/5 (definitely if they had reasonable demands) but the Reds love to wait just a little too long.

    • Doug Gray

      If he wouldn’t accept a deal to a contender with Dusty Baker, or to his hometown of Atlanta, I can’t imagine him accepting a trade anywhere.

      • Alex

        Hey Doug, clearly he feels slighted by the reds and does this to be difficult. I mean, to the reds credit, they really tried to trade him to good spots and know they won’t get anything for him. I feel like he signed before Votto and felt lied too by the reds about how much they could afford. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think that was the situation. Do you think the reds would really cut him, or sit him extensively? Do they have it in them? He is making them look terrible.

      • Doug Gray

        Brandon Phillips said the Reds lied to him about how much money they had and that his contract he’s currently on was a slap in the face once they signed Votto to his deal.

        Of course, Phillips also said last month that the Reds had never approached him about his no-trade clause. This, after he has reportedly turned down three different trades. So, who knows what is going on?

        I think that the fact that the Reds were willing to eat money to move him suggests there’s at least a small chance they just outright cut him before the spring. They have, apparently, said that they would be cutting into his playing time in 2017.

      • jbonireland

        At this point I really see no point in continuing this charade. If the Reds feel that they need to play the younger players, I, being the spiteful person I am, would hang on to him until the final roster solution, cut him, pay him what we owe him and tell him to go find his own deal.

    • Bill

      What you lose is a potential bench asset and the fact that you now have to play a decent player that you are playing. I understand wanting to cut him, but there absolutely is something to lose.

      • Alex

        I agree if I thought he would accept that role. I really do think he is out to stick it to them and would complain constantly if he sat the bench.

  5. Hoosierbadger

    Take the PR hit. Do what’s right for the team. Bench him.

  6. JPhillips

    Last offseason they should have come to Phillips and said they were playing Peraza and they would be willing to find a trade. If BP said no, fine, he could sit and play once or twice a week. I think there was a way to sell this to him as a favor for his years of service.

  7. Kap

    It’s all about brandon and no one else. Yeah he does well with the highlight reel plays but he kinda loafs on routine plays and jogs out ground balls. He probably wants to do this for the rest of his career and since the reds are bad no one will notice. Wasn’t he called out on this in the past? I bet he complains if they decrease his playing time this year. Such a terrible team player. So sick of dat dude

  8. MK

    Nothing about this is Brandon’s fault. If he doesn’t want to go he doesn’t have to. This is on management plain and simple. Gave him the contract, then did not trade him when they could. Then went out and acquired 4 second basemen( Renda, Dixon, Peraza and Herrera). This is on Walt not Brandon or Williams.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s on either Walt or Castellini. Or both. One of those two, or both, are responsible for signing him to the deal and keeping him around that long.

      I do think, though, at this point, Phillips is sticking it to the Reds because he felt lied to about the money when he signed his deal, then Votto got his weeks later.

      • Gaffer

        1) that’s the reason he needs to be released
        2) they didn’t lie, they had no more money because it was going to Votto

      • victor vollhardt

        If I remember the sequence right– they told him they could not do a long term contract because of financial restraints. They then signed Votto and he hollered “foul” . They then came back and signed him to a deal that is now in place with one more year(+option?) to go. I think that is the right timeline. Somewhere in that process a lie happened–I don’t know who or what and he continued to play without any more comments—all the while knowing that what he wanted was “his pound of flesh”(not money). He waited until the 10/5 kicked in and he was now in a position to get it. However after the two aborted trades last year would it not to make sense to have him on board with the plan BEFORE trying another trade this past fall. Also if this all(Atlanta) happened in November 2016–Why is it coming out now? Who leaked the story? The Reds? Atlanta? Phillips? If it all went down two months ago with no public story and it never came out–all three parties could have gone into the season with” straight faces”. Now they can’t and it might be a good bet that whoever put out this story now was the source of the original “lie” that started this whole process. If he requires a public apology to make the move happen–that is what must be done. If not then a public “burying the hatchet” by all parties and let him play–based on last year–he is the best second baseman you got.

      • jim t

        Something to think about. I think Brandon does have heartburn with the contract given to Joey. Not that he begrudges the money Joey got but the fact that he more then any other red was the face of the team. He was showing up at kids knothole games ,he signs autographs everyday, even playing catch with kids before games. He was the face of this team. You can see him signing autographs at UC games. He is part of this community which sells tickets. Something Joey is very reluctant to do for whatever reason. I do understand his production on the field is not on par with joey’s but selling the team to the community is a part of the job when you are one of the highest paid players on the team. Marketing is a responsibility of the players as well as ownership. Some may disagree with that but it is the truth. Brandon feels like he did all the little extra things he was asked to do and was lied to when it came time to be compensated. not really that hard to figure out.

      • Hoosierbadger

        BP signed the freaking contract. No one put a gun to his head and it is not as though the deal was unfair. I have no sympathy with his infantile view that he was somehow taken advantage of or treated unfairly. He’s acting like a teenager. Bench him or cut him if he cannot accept a reduced role and insists on being a malcontent.

    • DaveCT

      Exactly. Management issue. Management (and ownership) resolution.

      Play him until Herrera gets tuned up at AAA, then shake his hand, wish him well and release him, hopefull around May or early June.

      • victor vollhardt

        On MLB traderumors there is a new (1/6/16) post that says “That Reds executives made promises and assurances to Phillips that they are not living up to” This quote comes from those executives and the rest of the story implies the the source of the trade story came from the Reds. At this point a trade will happen and a public explanation is certainty due from Reds management.

      • Doug Gray

        I’ll believe it when I see it. At this point, I’d far more expect the Reds to cut Phillips before getting to a point where they can trade him.

  9. Alex Reds

    Hopefully they use him as a back up. Sad to see what Brandon is doing to the team and holding personal grudges.

  10. Bill

    The Reds simply need to stay the course on this and not get caught up in the emotion:
    1. Start him at 2B as long as his play dictates and continue to work trades.
    2. If his play dictates (or Herrera is forcing the issue from AAA), move him to the bench. The Reds would benefit from a quality bench player.
    3. Continue to explore trades for Cozart; this is really where Peraza should play.

    Peraza is versatile enough to play several times a week at multiple positions. It’s not ideal, but workable. Herrera benefits from additional time at AAA–hard to say his performance is forcing a move at 2B.

    Cutting BP would be reactionary. He can provide the Reds the most value by playing 2B or coming off the bench. No reason to make him available to the other 29 teams without compensation.

    • Doug Gray

      I’d argue that what Herrera did with the Mets in AAA last year is forcing a move at 2B.

      The problem with Phillips to the bench is that I just don’t think his ego could handle it. Maybe I, and just about everyone else for his entire career has the wrong read on him, but it seems that he’d be an enormous headache if pushed into that role and would make it a big issue. Then, at the first hint of struggles from whoever is playing over him, if he’s still around, Average Joe Redsfan is going to be all over whoever that guy is and management for what they did to Phillips. Just not a scenario that I can see playing out well.

      • Bill

        Doug, those are all good points. I’m just not comfortable allowing any player to dictate that they are a starter or a problem. If he is a problem, he should be suspended. No one should blame BP for exercising his no-trade rights and no one should blame the Reds for maximizing his value.

      • Reaganspad

        I agree with Bill also.

        Phillips is an employee of the Reds. His role with this team is as a bench player. If he does not accept that, he can be traded, to which he has declined.

        By declining those trades, he remains an employee of the Reds and subject to employee standards.

        If he does not play well in the sandbox, you suspend him. Period

        I would not cut him. I want his bat on the bench. He is a free bench player for 2017

  11. Tyler R

    The Reds need to find playing time for Peraza and Dilson fairly regularly in 2017. Dilson only has 2 options left, it would be nice for him to be the starting 2nd baseman opening day 2017 to show everyone what he can do.

    • Doug Gray

      Dilson Herrera has one option left. If he is in the minors at all in 2017, he has to stick in the Major Leagues in 2018.

      • Craig

        IMO, this is the strongest argument in favor of cutting Brandon. 2017 is a year for sorting and Brandon simply does not play in any future scenario (not even a bench/utility role beyond 2017). Love his passion and respect his game, but the FO has already made too many small mistakes to delay the rebuild. Unfortunately, this is a $14 million pill that they need to swallow.

  12. Dan

    Whether anyone cares, he has put the team first, played hurt, and has done everything to put this team and city first, and for those that don’t appreciate that you need to do a little soul searching. Brandon has carried the torch, made his family’s home here, and in a world of selfish greedy athletes he has distinguished himself like the players we adored as children, let’s cut him some slack and enjoy his remaining time here without alienating he and his family.

    • HavaKlu

      Amen Dan. Just because the Reds have a hot shot 2b ( Herrera) who everyone thinks is ready to play—-but no one really knows—doesn’t mean Phillips has to just give up his job.

    • sultanofswaff


      We’re really veering out of our lanes here by attributing qualities to BP that none of us know for sure. Not a single one of us knows what he’s like as a teammate, as a mentor to younger players, or the degree to which he has given of himself to the team day in day out. I do know that if he really had an attitude problem as a teammate, we would’ve heard about it long before now given how long he’s been around. Much of the speculation is because he hates the media………not exactly a capital offense.

      I’m willing to head to spring training with him. At worst, he’s a malcontent and gets cut. At best, he’s a supersub playing less frequently (and at full health), giving the Reds some much needed depth. He’d be blocking no one in that role.

  13. Colt Holt

    In brandon’s defense, the reds should know whether he will accept a trade before even having an accepted proposal. They planned to move on without knowing that he wanted to play out his contract, which, short of release, he is guaranteed the right to do. This reflects poorly on phillips, but the error really falls on the reds shoulders.

    • Hal

      Is it possible the Reds did ask BP about trade and he said ok? What better way to stick it to them than to make them look more incompetent than they already make themselves look? Lie for a lie so to speak.

      • Colt Holt

        He would only be able to be assured it was public if he made it that. Based on MLBTR’s note regarding a reds source, that wouldn’t seem to be the case. If BP wanted to make it public, you likely would have heard about it in November on Twitter. If it was about public humiliation, that doesn’t seem likely when we first hear about it two months later.

  14. Alankirkendall

    It seems likely the Reds can trade Zack Cozart if they adjust the expected return to market expectations. Trying to navigate between what the team should do and what they will do, is it possible Brandon Phillip is the super sub in 2017? Brian Price could sell this to Brandon by emphasizing the opportunity to show off Brandon’s versatility (2b, 3B, SS, OF?) and athleticism (he could even spell Peraza at SS here and there) enhancing his value in his free agent year and maximizing his at bats in the present rebuilding situation. Offering this solution positions the club well for further consequences if Phillips is not amenable.

  15. MikeD

    Lots of great points.

    At the end of the day, the Reds need to do what is best for their future. If that means Brandon goes to the bench, so be it. If he does become a problem deal with it. Brandon does not have a given right to start, that is determined by what is best for the team moving forward. He has served them well and deserves our grateful appreciation but nothing more or nothing less. His anger with the Reds may be justified but again this should be about the future of the Reds and not his justification. The Reds are not going to be a factor in 2017 and they need to continue to plan accordingly. If having Brandon start at second were going to help the future, then put him out there.

    This is a business and as much as we all like the personality side of it, we also want a winner in the not so distant future. Make the decision based on that and that alone!

  16. Jordan

    Bench him. He has no recourse at this point to complain about his benching when the club has tried to move him both to a place first with a chance to win in Washington, and now a rebuilding club with a chance to play every day in Atlanta. Play him once or twice a week, and as one of the first options off of the bench for a bat.

  17. Krozley

    One possible reason BP is refusing these trades is that if he is dealt, his no-trade rights go out the door. So in this case, if the Braves get him and then shop him later in the year to an undesirable team, BP can’t do anything about it and will have to go through a second move in a year. I’m not saying it is the most logical reason, but it may be important for BP to not risk moving his family around. I would guess that what he would desire from his new team is a no-trade clause (vs. last year when he wanted and extension). I’m thinking it won’t happen and I agree with Bill’s ideas above about how to deal with him this year.

    • Billy

      This is an interesting possibility. It could be that Brandon simply doesn’t want to move again. In that scenario, he wants assurances that he would still be able to veto trades later this season, and being on a rebuilding ATL team likely to trade him for prospects mid-year may not appeal to him unless he has some say in where they would send him.

      Someone said that the Reds shouldn’t even be making these deals without knowing that Brandon would accept. I can’t imagine that they are. If they went to him, and said, “We’d like to look into a deal to get you to ATL,” he probably is fine with that. When the deal is hammered out, and it is time for him to approve the deal, he wants to make sure the “i” are dotted and the “t”s are crossed. As they are running through scenarios, they hit on something that was a deal-breaker for someone. Maybe ATL felt that trade restrictions limiting him to being dealt to an east coast team that was close to home for him would simply limit his market too much. It could have been something like that.

      Of course, I don’t know that is how it all went down. But I’m trying to show that there are some very reasonable scenarios where this happens, and it isn’t necessarily just Brandon trying to stick it to the team on the way out the door.

  18. Norwood Nate

    It seems to me the Reds are doing their best to do right by him by finding the best landing spots. First with Washington and a former manager he liked, who was also a contender. Second by trying to send him back to his home town. The Reds good faith efforts have been met with resistance. Sure it’s his right to veto and it’s the right and responsibility to do the right thing for the organization. They cannot allow Phillips to handcuff the organization and the rebuild any further. Herrera and Peraza need regular playing. The Reds need evaluation time before options run out.

    If he hasn’t accepted a trade yet to two ideal situations I don’t see him accepting a trade. That should force the Reds hand and they need to cut him. They’re going to be on the hook for the cash anyway.

    All of these shenanigans over the years makes me really despise Phillips, to the point he’s probably my least favorite Red all time. I can’t wait until he’s no longer around.

  19. Billy

    When he says, “For Phillips, though, the issue is not simply money, sources say.

    He considers his refusal to accept a deal to be a matter of principle, and would want the team to address certain, unspecified issues before waiving his no-trade protection, sources say,” do we know which “team” is being referred to? Is there a lingering issue that he wants the Reds to address before he agrees to any trade or is it possible that he wants some kind of assurance (playing time, perhaps) from the acquiring team before agreeing to a deal?

  20. Jeff

    I don’t remember all the details of the late 80’s Reds, but there seems to be some parallels between Ron Oester/Dave Concepcion and the current Brandon Phillips/Zack Cozart situation. Oester and Concepcion were great in their prime and a dependable full-time double play combo up through 1985, but with Kurt Stillwell and Barry Larkin in the wings, Concepcion was suddenly reduced to p/t in ’86 and Oester went p/t in ’87. In particular, the end of Dave Concepcion’s career, I recall some bitterness on his part at his reduced role. Luckily, time forgives most wounds. If the Reds can’t trade Phillips/Cozart, we do have precedent for benching future Red’s HOFers in favor of the next generation.

  21. Dave T.

    Thanks in advance!

    Comparing ‘stuff’, who do you like better – Jackson Stephens or Jose Lopez?

    Also, I have read where you stated that you had three reports on Alfredo Rodriguez during his DSL stint. What, if any, were the assessments of his fielding skills?

    Thanks in retrospect!

  22. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    As petty as it seems, only thing I can think of that isn’t money-related is Phillips wants a public apology regarding those supposed lies.

  23. Arnold Ziffle

    Oohh, this isn’t going to end well. It is a 2 way street and plenty of blame to go around for the Reds front office mistakes, and now BP’s mistakes of sticking it to the Reds. If BP really feels ticked at the Reds front office, then there won’t be enough salve to soothe BP’s red-butt.
    If Reds GM Dick Williams is stupid enough to let this fester even more until spring training, then the Reds front office deserves what they will get. BP grinding away at his axe in the locker room is a disaster waiting to happen.
    Walt Jocketty and Bob Castellini made this mess, BP has enhanced the mess, and now it is time for Dick Williams to clean it up, not sweep it under the rug.

  24. Arnold Ziffle

    Who really is the second baseman of the future? Is it Dilson Herrera, or is it Jose Peraza? This time last year, going into the Reds Caravan, the front office was claiming Peraza was the second baseman of the future. I don’t think the Reds front office even knows the answer, but yet they make long range plans around it.

    • Doug Gray

      They hope it’s Herrera. I believe that they believe that Peraza, at least for a while, can handle shortstop.

  25. Bradkon21

    I actually do not have a problem with what Phillips is doing. My only thing is, I won’t listen to BP talk about not winning with Reds when he had chances elsewhere. Or complain about playing time being cut when he could have been a featured 2B elsewhere. 10-5 is his right. Reds mistake is the limited no trade he received in extension and not moving him before 10-5 kicked in. Those things are not Brandon’s fault.

    To me, Brandon is trying to do exactly what Jonathan Lucroy did at the trade deadline. He wants an extension or with veto trade. Part of me admires his desire to stay on one place. BP has considerably less leverage than Lucroy. Lucroy had a limited no trade that included Cleveland but not Texas. Also, playing at a higher level on a more team friendly deal.

  26. Billy

    Over on, Jim Bowden said this:

    “According to a Reds club source there is still a possibility that Brandon Phillips could be traded to the Atlanta Braves, a deal in which the Reds would pay most of Phillips contract. The deal would allow the Reds to open the door for their prized prospect Jose Peraza. However, Reds executives acknowledge that they made promises and assurances to Phillips that they are not living up to and will have to work through those issues directly with Phillips before a deal can be consummated. Phillips has a full-no trade clause and nixed a deal to the Washington Nationals last year. The Braves are trying to be more competitive this year as they open their new stadium.”

    I added the bold, but that certainly doesn’t sound like Brandon is the one causing a deal to be held up. Perhaps the old regime made some promises that the new regime doesn’t want to honor?

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll be updating the post with more on this after I finish lunch – but I don’t think it’s an old regime/new regime thing. BP turned down two deals under the old regime. Sounds like an owner saying no to something, thing.

    • Mjc

      Billy, you wrote it certainly doesn’t sound like Brandon is the one causing the deal to be held up. The reds agreed to 3 trades he stopped all 3. Brandon is reportedly ticked about the reds not coming to him about Atlanta trade.if the reds didn’t ask him about it then how did he decline it. And freshly after decling it telling a reporter he would have loved to play for Atlanta. He’s acting like a spoiled child he’s making a career about being a victim.

      • Doug Gray

        He made a career out of being an excellent baseball player.