The Cincinnati Reds have made it clear they are actively shopping second baseman Brandon Phillips in the offseason. The team will attempt to execute a trade after Phillips make off-hand comments about his current contract. Reds CEO Bob Castellini was clearly unhappy with Phillips' remarks, calling them a "slap in the face." Unhappy players are the first to be made available for a trade and Phillips is up.
The issue in trading the second baseman will be his contract. At 32, Phillips' production has slipped, but he remains a decent option for many teams. His contract will create issues. Phillips is owed $50 million through 2017. The Reds are likely going to be very unwilling to eat some of that money, so any team taking a glance his way will have to shell out big bucks. Phillips brings a lot from a defensive standpoint despite his batting average taking dips. Teams are noticing.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reports the Atlanta Braves could be very interested in a deal for Phillips if the Reds take on Dan Uggla as part of a package. That is almost laughable considering the season Uggla is coming off of. The second baseman is owed $26 million on his current deal which could create a nice trade. Having Phillips and short stop Andrelton Simmons on the same field almost seems unfair. However, Uggla is not a favorable trade option.
The Detroit Tigers are another option of teams that might make a run at Phillips. Both Jhonny Peralta and Omar Infante are set to become free agents. Detroit has never been afraid of making big moves and spending money. Phillips certainly fits that description. He would improve Detroit's defense while being a nice hitter in the middle of the order.
The Toronto Blue Jays could be in the market for a second baseman. Both Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis failed to make a difference last season. The Blue Jays have always been willing to trade struggling players and might be able to put together a convincing package for the Reds. Another option would be the Baltimore Orioles who could be getting ready to lose Brian Roberts to an expiring contract. Manny Machado is dealing with a knee injury and might not be ready for the season. Phillips will be a welcomed addition.
The future of Phillips will come down to money. A team must be willing to make a long-term commitment to the second baseman. A few decent prospects could be all that is needed to land the All-Star as the Reds appear to be all but done with him.