Posted on November 13, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The rebuilding process continues for the Cincinnati Reds. Last offseason, the team traded both Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier, and then during the season, Jay Bruce was on the move. Yet, there appears to be more moves on the horizon, and second baseman Brandon Phillips could be the next player to be dealt. By virtue of playing the last 11 seasons of his career with the Reds, Phillips has a full no-trade clause, but there are indications that he could waive that no-trade clause this winter and leave Cincinnati.
Multiple sources, including Jon Morosi, have reported that Phillips is more willing to consider a trade away from Cincinnati than he has been in the past. Last offseason, Phillips was part of a proposed trade that would have sent him to the Washington Nationals, but the veteran exercised his no-trade clause to prevent the trade from being completed. Phillips has just one year left on his deal at $14 million, which could make him a viable trade candidate for a team that believes the 35-year old has enough left in the tank to help them compete in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Reds will not be shy when it comes to pursing trades this offseason that involve either Phillips or shortstop Zack Cozart. Cincinnati wouldn’t mind trading one or both of its starting middle infielders to make room for Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, both of whom could be part of Cincinnati’s middle infield of the future.
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“We’ll definitely be opportunistic,” Reds GM Dick Williams said earlier this week. “If there is a deal to be had that works in terms of getting value back in a trade and opening a spot for a guy we think is ready, we’ll do it.”
That statement makes it appear like Williams is ready to do some wheeling and dealing this winter. However, Williams added that he’s not going to force the issue if a good trade isn’t on the table.
“If those deals are not there, then we’ll just have to make playing time work for everybody and make the transition work and act accordingly,” Williams explains. “It’s hard to say at this point. It’s a good problem to have a veteran guy and a young guy you like in a given position because you can play one or the other or groom him or let the young guy run and play. It will be kind of dictated by if somebody comes and has a compelling offer that makes the organization better enough to make a trade.”
If Phillips doesn’t end up getting traded this winter, it could be due to the lack of teams looking to acquire a second baseman. The Angels and the Dodgers appear to be in the market for a second baseman, but other than that, few teams have a pressing need at that position. The free agent class at second base isn’t all that impressive outside of Neil Walker or the aging Chase Utley. However, Ian Kinsler is a trade candidate with the Tigers looking to get younger this offseason, while Brian Dozier of the Twins is another player who has garnered some interest. This could further limit any interest in Phillips on the trade market.
Whether Phillips will end up being traded this winter remains unclear. However, what is clear is that the Reds are more than open to the possibility of moving him, and more importantly, for the first time Phillips appears willing to waiving his no-trade clause. This will make Phillips leaving Cincinnati via trade a distinct possibility this winter.