Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips overstays his welcome

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Brandon Phillips had multiple chances to leave the Cincinnati Reds gracefully, but he has overstayed his welcome.

The Cincinnati Reds tried to do right by Brandon Phillips following the 2015 season.  First they attempted to trade him to the Arizona Diamondbacks where he could have played his last two years with a suddenly rich ownership group.  Then they tried to trade him to the Washington Nationals where his best buddy, Dusty Baker, was the new manager.  Phillips blocked both of these deals.

Let’s be open as to why Phillips stayed.  He wanted to catch Joe Morgan as the Reds’ leading second baseman in several offensive categories.  This year he overtook Morgan as the leading Reds’ second baseman in runs scored.  Of course, Phillips needed almost 2,000 more plate appearances or over three extra seasons.  Despite all of those extra PAs, Phillips has less than half of the walks that Morgan had in his career.

Phillips has also struck out over twice as much as Morgan.  Granted, Phillips has played in more games than Morgan, but not enough to justify the strikeout difference.  Much like walks, Morgan has more than twice as many steals as well.

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The stat that I love in comparing Phillips to Morgan is created runs.  Morgan has more than 70 more than Phillips during his time with the Reds.  Morgan also did it in less time.  He is tenth in the Reds’ history in runs created.  Joey Votto passed Morgan in runs created a few years ago, but just passed him up in PAs this season.

61. The Cincinnati Reds have separated themselves from the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves at the bottom of the baseball world.  They entered a homestand this week after taking the last three of a four game series from the Pittsburgh Pirates, ending that team’s wild card chances.. 61-82. Previous: 28th. Cincinnati Reds. 26

Phillips is an inherently selfish player.

That’s what’s wrong with Phillips.  He has some sense that he is the greatest of all time, when he is merely very good.  He could have cemented his place as one of the best second basemen of his era, if he had left for a winner.  Now he is playing out the string on a losing team.

It’s more than what he is producing.  Phillips is also blocking Jose Peraza of the Todd Frazier deal and Dilson Herrera of the Jay Bruce, not to mention waiver wire addition Tony Renda, from getting a chance to compete for the second base job.  The Reds can’t afford to pay Phillips next year, so he won’t be back.

Next: Votto takes aim at NL MVP

The real question is why haven’t the Reds sent him home?  All he is at this point is a distraction.  The Reds must develop players so that Votto’s career can flourish again, even if Phillips plays hard.  Otherwise, I was right in suggesting the Reds move Votto, too.