The Cincinnati Reds didn’t lose much with the trade of Brandon Phillips, but the fans may have lost a lot.
The Cincinnati Reds needed to move Brandon Phillips to another team, so they could get younger and faster. That doesn’t mean that the fans wanted to see the move. This is a case where the fans didn’t want to acknowledge that their star was aging. Phillips even blocked this deal once before letting it pass.
It is estimated that Phillips signed over 3,000 autographs during his time with the Reds or about 20 every time there was a game. He also interacted with the fans using his @datdudebp Twitter account to let fans know where he going and what he was up to. For better or for worse he tried to be accessible.
He also was on the Reds Caravan for several years, reaching out to the fans beyond Cincinnati. From a fans’ vantage point his smile and ability to interact made him someone special. Even if that smile sometime came with a cloud over it.
Perhaps most noteworthy of his off the field persona, Phillips was an ardent supporter of the Reds Urban Youth Academy. His work and time helped build inter-city fields and teach the game to those who wouldn’t have had an opportunity otherwise. His work in this area will last longer than his days in Atlanta ever could.
On the field, the Cincinnati Reds will move to another second baseman who slightly resembles Brandon Phillips.
Jose Peraza has travelled a similar road to Cincinnati that Phillips had previously made. Peraza was an elite prospect in the Atlanta Braves system before he was a throw-in during the Alex Wood deal. Then, after losing value in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ eyes as a prospect the Reds traded for him along with Scott Schebler for Todd Frazier.
Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs made the same comparison, as Peraza begins his everyday role with the Reds. That’s not to say that Peraza will be the superstar that Phillips became. It is just to say that had a similar start to their MLB careers.
Phillips had a consistency with the Reds that will likely never be duplicated by a middle infielder. Over 11 years Phillips only had one season of less than 140 games played and less than 145 hits. He also only struck out more than 100 times once and had less than 55 RBIs once.
The play on the field will be better for the Reds this year, as baseball is a team sport. Those who followed Phillips on Twitter or had a chance to interact with him will miss him dearly. No one should be upset that Phillips took the opportunity to wind down his career playing for his home town team.