Speculation has run amuck that the Cincinnati Reds want to trade their All-star Golden Glove second baseman, Brandon Phillips. Where it originated I cannot say assuredly. Cincinnati Enquirer writer, John Fay wrote that the Reds seem interested in trading him. The reason Fay cited was that the Reds have shown interest in Cuban phenom Alexander Guerrero. The young Cuban plays middle infield and should make a dandy second baseman.
Another reason is the remarks Phillips made about the ownership of the team. He allegedly called Bob Castellini a liar for saying he didn’t have the money to give Phillips a better contract. Of course, prior to extending Phillips’ contract, he just gave former MVP, Joey Votto a king’s ransom. Phillips characterized it as a ‘slap in his face.’
Hmmmmm. A slap in the face, you say? $72.5M for 6 years. Some may call that a slap in the face, but probably not you or me. Over $12M a year for playing a kid’s game that you love sounds like fun to me. Slap me in the face every day for that kind of dough.
Phillips is clearly a polarizing figure. Most people either love him or hate him. I am not one of those. I like him, enjoy watching him play, but could do without all of the add-ons. Add-ons, you say? Yeah, like calling the Cardinals a bunch of “pu**ies” and then slapping the catcher on the shin guards the next day as though nothing happened. Or humiliating a writer in a press conference because he brought up your anemic numbers at the time. Kids watch you and idolize you, sir.
If you watched Reds’ games day in and out like I do, you probably think Phillips is the best second baseman in the free world. Reds’ TV announcers certainly say it enough. He is a very good player, but not great, or ‘the best.’ He can make plays that would make you wonder how many legs or arms he really has. He can then let one go right through the wicket. Sometimes, his base-running is more than suspect, like the time against the Phillies when Jimmie Rollins picked his pocket after chatting him up for a bit. That was embarrassing for me to watch.
Some have called in to task his RBI, seemingly as though they have lost their meaning since higher math has been introduced to statisticians. Nonsense, you still have to knock the runs in to get credit for them. 100 RBI in 1920 is 100 RBI today, I don’t care who you are or who bats ahead or behind you.
His power seems to have gone in hiding. In 2007 he hit 30 HR while stealing 32 bases, both career highs. In 2013 he hit only 18 HR with five stolen bases. He was actually caught stealing three out of the eight attempts. His .261 BA was 12 points below his career average entering that season. The 18 homers marked the fourth season in a row that he hit that number.
The Atlanta Braves are reportedly in the hunt for Phillips. They would like to unload Dan Uggla for him. Don’t laugh. Uggla is a year older at 33, but offensively both men would appear to be on the downhill trajectory of their respective careers. Uggla played in 136 games in 2013 and the only thing that was up was his strikeouts. He was so diminished that the Braves left him off the playoff roster. Talk about a slap in the face. He makes about the same as Phillips (when you make that much money, a million here or there is trivial), and was left off the roster, in what would have only been his second playoff appearance in his 8-year career.
Uggla’s career OBP is 20 points higher than Phillips, because he will stay up there long enough to take a walk. In fact he led the NL in BB in 2012 with 94. Even with his lousy .179 average last season he was only .001 behind Phillips in OBP.
Uggla strikes out almost twice as much, yet he walks nearly twice as often as Phillips. Since 2006 Phillips has grounded into 146 double plays while Uggla has only done it 68 times in that same span.
For their respective careers Phillips has an OPS+ of 110 while Phillips is just 96. If you are unfamiliar with those numbers, it is saying that offensively Phillips is four points below league average, while Uggla is 10 points above.
Defensively there really is no comparison. Phillips is a three-time Gold Glove winner and that says it all for defense. They have both been on three All-star squads.
With 36 HR as a career high for Uggla, it makes you wonder what he may put up with a season at Great American Ball Park. He would provide much needed power and his ability to get on base would not hurt either.
Uggla for Phillips straight up may not be quite right, but a prospect along with it may just be a good deal.