Yesterday word came out that Brandon Phillips blocked a trade in November to Atlanta. I wrote that I couldn’t figure out what it was that Phillips wanted from the Reds, or another team since it wasn’t “money”.

Today Jim Bowden came out with this at ESPN:

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. 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.

While it’s good reporting by Bowden if true, and there’s no reason to believe that it’s not true, I’m still quite confused. Brandon Phillips wants something from the Reds. Reportedly it’s not money. So what is it that the Cincinnati Reds could offer him that would make him accept a trade? What didn’t they give him, that isn’t money, that they can just give him now that makes him accept the trade?

If they promised him they’d build a better team around him and Votto, that’s not something they can just fix to get him to approve a trade now. It’s not that they said they’d play him more often – he’s been in the lineup as much as physically possible. He’s been allowed to play through multiple injuries since he became a Red, even when he was doing so and playing terribly. Something just doesn’t add up.

What could the Reds have promised and assured him of that they can actually fix at this point that helps Brandon Phillips in 2017 on a different team that doesn’t involve money? At this point, I literally can’t come up with one thing. While Bowden notes that there’s still a possibility that a trade to Atlanta could happen, that seems incredibly unlikely. They’ve now traded him three times and he’s turned them all down. If they were willing to fix whatever those promises were, they would have by now.

34 Responses

  1. Arnold Ziffle

    You are starting to ask the right questions. Ask the who, what, where, when and how questions.
    What was promised and/or assured?
    Who made those promises and/or assurances?
    When were these promises and/or assurances made?
    The where and how, at least now, are non-factors.
    There is much more going on here than just BP being upset the Reds front office didn’t inform him of trade talks being initiated with Atlanta.

    • victor vollhardt

      The Arnold Ziffle post—is a great one. The Reds need to come forward and explain in public—if they did it wrong (or lied somewhere along the line) they need to say so. If they are being “trashed” they need to say so, because if they don’t explain (out in the open with all the correct facts) going forward it will be close to impossible to deal with agents and players and the front office will have no credibility with the press and fans. A very bad way to start a new GM out in the business.

      • Doug Gray

        Airing dirty laundry is going to make it even harder to deal with agents/players in the future, even if they are in the right.

  2. Gaffer

    I have to disagree with your first line. Jim Bowden is not above questioning for his honestly. He basically lost his last GM job for making illegal background deals in Latin America.

    The only thing I can imagine is that the Reds promised to not trade him, and let him retire a red, but clearly that is a pointless promise.

    • Doug Gray

      Well, I can’t imagine letting him retire as a Red would somehow get him to approve a trade. It’s got to be something else. I just have no clue what it could be.

  3. Bill

    Cincinnati.com is reporting tha per Harold Reynolds BP was not consulted about the trade to the Braves. Doesn’t really make sense. Hopefully, one of our beat writers has a connection w/BP to find out what happened.

    • Doug Gray

      Phillips claims he was never consulted about any trade, even still. I find that incredibly difficult to believe.

  4. Bob

    Harold Reynolds said today he talked to Phillips and Phillips said the Reds never approached him about a trade to Atlanta and he would be open to it. Clearly someone is either lying or there is serious miscommunication happening.

    • Norwood Nate

      How can one veto something they’re never asked about? Something isn’t adding up.

    • Bill

      Maybe just semantics and the Reds approached BP’s agent and not BP?

  5. victor vollhardt

    According to an article in the Enquirer (by Rosecrans) Harold Reynolds of MLB Network show”Hot Stove” talked to Phillips who told Reynolds that he was Never approached by the Reds asking him to accept a trade this past November and now Phillips is truly “ticked”. If the Reds did do the trade with Atlanta (after last year’s aborted trades) without FIRST talking to Phillips or his agent—then that is a very stupid thing to try. Maybe the “things” that Phillips was after (and maybe promised) was input into all aspects of the trade before it was announced. As a long time Red– -fan favorite–10/5 guy—that might be a simple answer and now the way it has come out (two months later)—he now feels he is being made the “bad guy”. No matter what the reason–it has been handled very poorly by the Reds. He will be traded (now), but the Reds need to do some sort of public explaining–so that it ends on a high note. If they leave the way it is–with a reputation of breaking their word–money or no money it will be very difficult to attract players to come to Cincinnati on any level.

  6. greg

    Total off the wall guess here, but maybe it has something to do with the organization letting go of younger brother P.J. Phillips. Brandon signed his extension 4/10/12, and according to BR P.J. spent only 4 games in the 2012 season with Louisville. If I’m reading that correctly, it looks like he was let go immediately after Brandon signed the extension. Perhaps there was a promise made to Brandon that the org. would hold onto P.J. or something of the sort.

    • theRickDeLux

      That seems highly unlikely. Any high level team athlete knows that you are only one injury or change in management away from being cut or the guy next to you being cut. You also want to play the game with the most talented people on your team. While it would have been fun to play with his brother, PJ just wasn’t talented enough to keep around and BP would have known that.

      • greg

        Yes, unlikely, but not because it’s implausible. Knowing that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t ask.

  7. Bill

    Atlanta makes sense by allowing 19-year old Ozzie Albies to further develop at AAA and Rodriguez could slot in at third.

    If the Twins move Dozier, there may another landing spot for Cozart. I would expect Polanco to move to 2B where he is stronger defensively leaving a hole at SS. Top prospect Nick Gordan is at least 1 year from ready.

  8. Arnold Ziffle

    Dilson Herrera getting playing time in CF in spring training? Might be a good experiment. The little guy might project better as a CF than a 2B, bettering BHam’s offensive output.

    • Doug Gray

      No. He’s barely got enough speed for the corner outfield – there’s no way he’s a center fielder. He’s purely a second baseman according to every scouting report on him.

      • Arnold Ziffle

        Hmmm, Fangraphs lists his speed as his best rated tool at 50/50+. We must be missing something on that.
        For arguments sake, if the Reds trade BHam this winter, during the upcoming season, or next winter, who plays CF for the Reds? No one in their minors system is ready to play CF in the major leagues.
        Schebler in CF? That will be painful to watch.
        THolt and YorRod are gone.
        Irabarren? Not full time in CF. As a fill-in, OK.
        Who is the CF at AAA? Nobody I could think of either.

      • Doug Gray

        50 is average speed. That’s enough for second, but rarely enough for shortstop. It’s never enough for center. Every center fielder is a 60 or better speed guy, and a large majority are 65+ guys. The only ‘every day” option that isn’t Billy Hamilton, as it sits right now, would be Peraza. I think the Reds believe that Alcantara can be a CF backup right now, though.

    • Alex

      I wouldn’t say little. I met him at redsfest. I’m 5’11 and he is taller then me. But also, he is built like a brick house. Easily 205 of solid muscle. He will rake in GABP. I think he could surprise with his power

  9. MK

    Maybe he asked that before a trade was completed, for the ability to negotiate or talk to the team he was being traded to like finding out what the team’s role for him is going to be or if they consider him to be more than a one year option or a lot of other things. Seems that would be reasonable for a high profile veteran.

  10. DaveCT

    As for the whodunit, all that can be done is speculate. That’s just unproductive when compared to looking at what to do moving forward.

    So, if I’m Dick Williams, I immediately attend to the following:

    Reach out to the fans and community, including the media.I hold a press conference to answer any and all questions openly and honestly. One, to break from the past WJ practice of secrecy and establish a new precedent. Two, to take control of the situation vs. reacting and being run all over the court, and clear up misconceptions regarding the situation.

    Reach out to BP. Establish or re-establish expectations with BP. Whatever in the world they are, it’s almost irrelevant, just as long as they are clear.

    Reach out to the team (players). Communicate or re-communicate the direction of the club going forward.

    • victor vollhardt

      Post by “DAVECT” is 100% right—-telling the truth (dirty laundry or not) keeps your friends (media-fans players and agents) and just sometimes wins over your enemies. Who knows–it might just establish Mr. Williams as a man who truly is in charge and get the “right”kind of publicly that the Reds need.

    • Bill

      I agree with Doug, for the team to take this public would make matters much worse not better. Irritating to us as fans, but no one wants there employer addressing their situation publically.

  11. IndyRedsFan

    Here’s another possibility. Given that Phillips wasn’t consulted, and that he said in December that he hadn’t even thought about what he would do if he were asked to approve a trade, it is entirely possible that Rosenthal’s reporting is just incorrect.
    Cincy and Atlanta never agreed to a trade….and that’s why Phillips was never asked.
    It wouldn’t be the first time that Rosenthal got something wrong.

  12. bryant

    This feels more like the two sides are fishing for some face saving way out that Phillips can “back down” and accept a trade to Atlanta in return for the Reds saying that Phillips was right about some misinformation being communicated to him during earlier negotiations. Phillips gets acknowledgment he was not just being a jerk and Reds get rid of him and opportunity to move on. People are not going to remember this too long and everybody gets to move on. The Reds with rebuild and Phillips with good career location at home.

  13. Jim t

    Think you guys may have missed the obvious here. My guess is management has reneged on a promise that is related to the initial extension he signed. Which also was the source of his beef when he called out management. I would assume part of the kissing and making up was some level of assurances that some considerations would be made at some point in time. Apparently that hasn’t happened. With that in mind BP is going to extract every last dime of that contract out of his current employer before moving on unless the gaining party is open to a extension. Putting on my thinking hat, none of the interested parties to this point have made that offer. All this, I love it here and don’t want to leave is a smoke screen for his dissatisfaction and his intent to make things difficult to do what the reds want which is to off load his contract unless it is beneficial to him.

    • MuddyCleats

      Tend 2 agree Jim. Only other thing I can think of is BP actually likes it in Cincy and feels it is best to live & play here for his family? My guess is he asked to be left out of further trade talks (which he intends to decline) and play out his contract as a Red???

  14. MikeD

    The idea that Brandon wants to play out his career as a Red, means he retires after this season. That is as unlikely as the idea that the Reds will bring him back next season. If he were to retire after this season, I would have to say that he has my upmost respect. Will be interesting to watch play out. The Reds screwed up when they allowed him to get past 9 years, 364 days of service. Hopefully that will be a lesson learned. It is difficult to know if it the owner or WJ? I was never a Jockerty fan and it is obvious why the Cards let him go.

  15. Hingle McCringleberry

    First off, this organization has a horrible track record with players being loyal to them vs the team being loyal to the players. Larkin played all of his time here and was a hall of fame player. The reds wanted Trade him.

    They lied to Brandon. Asked him to take less because money was tight. Then they turn around and spend 275 mill on votto, and 106 mil on bailey. I’m sorry, I would give you the middle finger too.

    • Doug Gray

      They didn’t give $275M to Votto. They gave $225M to Votto.

      I’m fully on board with the whole “loyalty” to a team thing, though. In the sense that there shouldn’t be any. To your teammates? Yes. To the organization? Do what’s best for you – they will do what’s best for them.

      However, this whole thing just continues to get more weird as we get little pieces coming out.

    • sixpacktwo

      Phillips has a very good contract that he can not play up to. He is no where close to Votto’s level. He can want more that does not mean he should get it.

    • Mjc

      Larkin was in major trade rumors, it appeared a foregone conclusion he was to be traded.the reds were at home Larkin gets a standing ovation every at bat so ownership vetoed the the trade route and signed him