The Cincinnati Reds have decided to shop star second baseman Brandon Phillips this winter, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale. According to Nightengale, the Reds appear set on trading the 32 year old Phillips, and apparently the decision was made within the organization about a month ago.
The #Reds decided a month ago that they will shop Brandon Phillips this winter w all intents to trade him— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 18, 2013
A 1999 second round pick by the Montreal Expos, Phillips was traded to Cleveland in 2002 as part of the infamous Bartolo Colon trade that netted the Indians a trio of future stars in Phillips, Cliff Lee, and Grady Sizemore. Phillips played in just 135 big league games with Cleveland from 2002-2005 before finally earning regular playing time once the Reds acquired the then 25-year-old Phillips in early 2006. Since 2007, Phillips has been among the best second basemen in baseball, accruing a 24.1 WAR during that time frame. He has earned his fair share of accolades, nabbing three All-Star nods, three Gold Gloves, and a Sliver Slugger in 2011.
Despite being named to the NL All-Star squad this past July and collecting a career-high 103 RBIs (largely thanks to Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto), Phillips' 2013 season has been his worst campaign since 2006, his first year in Cincinnati. Even though Phillips slugged 18 home runs for the 4th consecutive year, his overall offensive numbers decreased dramatically. After hitting .280/.330/.449 from 2007-2012, Phillips hit just .261/.310/.396 this season, good for a wRC+ 9% below league average.
Aside from his dismal 2013 performance, Phillips' value is burdened by the 6 year, $72.5 million contract that he signed in April of 2012. He is owed $50 million over the next 4 seasons, a figure which could be a huge albatross in any potential trade this winter.
Among contenders with holes at second base are the Atlanta Braves (who already have an overpaid second baseman of their own in Dan Uggla), Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles. Of course, the market figures to be abundant with second base talent this winter with Omar Infante and Robinson Cano available via free agency, and the Angels making it known that they could trade the incumbent Howie Kendrick.