What to Do?


There’s no question that Brandon Phillips has constructed a large legion of fans especially since he opened an account on Twitter. BP has has used the popular social site in order to attend little league games, offer various prizes, and even hold contests for trips to out of town games. Phillips was captured by the camera crew after yesterday’s home finale tossing various freebies into the stand. Most of his deeds would be labeled of the “good” variety.

Then why am I letting a couple statements and a tweet annoy me so much?

Not sure, and I know everyone is aware of BP’s tweet from early (and I stress early) yesterday morning.

Before I go too far into this, I want to state clearly that I am in favor of the Reds offering Phillips an extension. I will also state that I am not in favor of that being beyond three years either at two years plus an option for a third year or just for three years straight up. No more than that.

Not all Reds fans want Phillips to stay. I have come across a few that would not mind if the Reds declined their option, took the $1 million buyout and pursued an arm. Others outside of Cincinnati think (like Mickey Brignall on Call to the Pen) BP could be instrumental in a team making the playoff in 2012, just not the Reds.

"Phillips should keep a positive outlook on this situation though. Who knows, he may be the final piece in another teams’ postseason run come 2012."

Now, I was shocked to see this tweet. Why, you ask?

I’m old school. Anything related to any player’s contract status should be kept in-house. No statements should be made by either party…unless there’s an agreement reached. Even then, it should be by both parties. Apparently, Reds GM Walt Jocketty feels the same way (via Mark Sheldon).

"“We don’t talk about contract negotiations,” Jocketty said. “I haven’t had a conversation with his agent. I would think at some point between now and the next month or so, we’ll probably have a conversation.”"

But then a little more was added from this same article. Well, it was when my annoyance leveled began shall I say. This got not much play in Cincinnati either. Phillips was quoted as follows:

"“If they just pick my option up and don’t extend me, I feel like that’s a slap in my face,” Phillips said. “If the team wants you, they will make room. They will show you they want you here, period. They did it for some of the other guys.“If they’re going to have me for just one year, I feel like they don’t see me in the future.”"

A slap in the face? Really? A refresher here. Back in 2006, the Cleveland Indians had just DFA’d Phillips. Then Reds GM Wayne Krivsky (who had held the position for all of two months) worked out a deal with Cleveland and provided the former first round draft pick a second chance. BP has not disappointed, for the most part, on the field. The Reds have afforded BP to be able to have his contests and provide those trips for fans. A real slap in the face would be to use their $1 million buyout and tell you “see ya later”.

And the part about “the other guys”? Well, there’s a reason for that.

Last off-season, Phillips sat and observed as Joey Votto (3 years/$38 million), Jay Bruce (6 years/$51 million), and Johnny Cueto (4 years/$27 million) signed to a grand total of $116 million between them. Upon the completion of these deals, Phillips was asked of such. He wanted to know where his long-term deal was. For the record, Votto is 28, Bruce is 24, Cueto is 25. Phillips is 30. Age will have a bearing on the length of any potential extension given to Phillips.

BP has also made it no secret that this will be his “last contract” and that the Reds will receive no “homeboy hookup“. These statements sway me into thinking (and I could really off base here) that Phillips wants longer than three years plus obtaining his fair market value. I have no issue with his desire to be paid as he is valued as a player. None whatsoever, but Reds fans need to bear this in mind.

Being considered a small market team, the Reds are not exactly viewed as the type of organization that can usually provide for more than a handful of fair market value contracts. With the payroll as constructed, I doubt it will go all that much higher for 2012 than it was for 2011.

Let’s go back to the trio that was signed in the off-season for a second. While it is true that these guys were given their deals, I’m almost positive that the Reds can ill-afford to absorb another deal similar to these three plus toss in the Bronson Arroyo restructure/extension. That was a 3-year deal with a $15 million deferral. That could be a similar deal BP and his agent are offered. Oh, and don’t forget that there’s been chatter of Francisco Cordero being extended as well.

And while I’m mentioning on the Arroyo re-work. Isn’t how that all got worked out? The Reds elected to pick up the option first and then work on an extension? Thought so. And not until December 3rd either. I get the feeling the wheels aren’t spinning fast enough for BP.

I haven’t even touched on BP’s performance on the field. Okay. I will now.

The only stat that concerns me is his stolen base numbers. Since his 30-30 season of 2007, his number of thefts have decreased every season. His success has as well. I understand possibly setting a career high in OBP and batting average. If you look at his OPS+ for this season (118), it’s the highest for his career, too. Phillips really is having a career year. A third Gold Glove is well within the offering.

But seriously, Brandon, please keep all this stuff about your deal out of the media. I know reporters and writers want the big quote. I also know that you have no trouble in providing one. I’ll cite Hal McCoy as an example. Sometimes it really is better not to say something…or even tweet it.

And to quote BP, all this contract talk even being in the news to begin with is simply “no bueno”.