Cincinnati Reds’ first offseason priority – find a new home for Brandon Phillips

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds need to find a new home for Brandon Phillips before he dominates the offseason.

Last offseason the Cincinnati Reds let Brandon Phillips dictate their situation, but they cannot afford to do again.  The Reds are close to turning the corner on their rebuild.  They have found some answers in the rotation and bullpen as the pitching staff fell apart, but still have an old curmudgeon at second base.

Phillips doesn’t fit a rebuilding team in so many ways.  The first is that he is owed $14-million in guaranteed money.  That makes him the third highest paid Red behind former MVP Joey Votto and supposed ace starter Homer Bailey.  He makes double of the fourth highest paid Reds, oft-injured catcher, Devin Mesoraco.

That is part of the reason Phillips needs to go.  As the Reds slowly get closer to competing, they will need that money to re-sign younger players to long term deals.  Anthony DeSclafani and Dan Straily are already getting close to when the Reds should negotiate extensions with them after taking them both off of the trade block in August.  They will also have to decide about Billy Hamilton sooner than later.

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Phillips also takes up innumerable at-bats.  He is a volume hitter and a volume producer.  Like an NFL running back he says that he gets better the more he plays.

What is going to happen with Phillips as the off-season progresses?

Time for inaction is over.  Reds’ general manager Dick Williams needs to be a leader and ask Phillips what he wants to leave the Queen City.  The Reds cannot afford to be distracted this off-season.

Likely the Reds need to let him pick the team, give him an extension and either pay him some award money or increase the amounts of his bonuses.  Phillips seems to still be upset about the money Votto received so many years ago.  Showing Phillips some monetary incentive will move him.

Of course, that is another reason that Phillips does not belong on a rebuilding team.  He is selfish and doesn’t seem concerned about helping others.  That works on a team that chuck full of veterans, but not on one full of rookies.

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The usual suspects are still in play for Phillips.  The top two teams are still the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals for different reasons.  The Royals are in play because they lack organizational depth and are constantly looking for short term answers.  The Blue Jays have the money and need the offense.  It’s time for Phillips to go north of the border.