Nathan Grimm

Offseason Lowdown

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Phillips Stays Put, Again

Friday, January 6, 2017


Brandon Phillips the person, by most accounts, is a wonderful human being.

Brandon Phillips the baseball player has been surprisingly useful in recent years as well, even as he heads into his age 36 season. Phillips last year batted .291/.320/.416 with 11 homers, 64 RBI, 74 runs scored and 14 steals with the Reds.

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The Reds, going nowhere and with younger mouths to feed, tried to capitalize on that success by dealing him to the Braves in November, according to a report by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, only to have Phillips veto the deal. It was the third time Phillips has exercised his 10-and-5 rights -- 10 years in the league, and at least the past five with the same team -- in the past few offseasons after he nixed deals to the Nationals and Diamondbacks last winter.

What's left is an awkward scenario where Phillips may end up being paid $14 million in 2017 to be a part-time player, or perhaps he starts on a last-place team while up-and-coming talent dwells at Triple-A. Either way, it's not an ideal scenario for anyone involved.

Phillips has performed well and is clearly happy in Cincinnati, but a deal to a better team -- even the Braves offense should be better than the Reds in 2017 -- would improve his numbers that much more. And with free agency on the horizon after the 2017 season, a strong year could help his bottom line next winter.

For the Reds, they've got one MLB-ready middle infielder, Jose Peraza, and another, Dilson Herrera, who may be ready if given the opportunity. Peraza will find the field somewhere in 2017 after batting .324/.352/.411 with 21 steals in 72 games last year, but Phillips' presence could mean Herrera, who hit .274/.335/.456 at Triple-A last season, may be forced to return to Triple-A again or find sporadic playing time with the big club.

It's Phillips' right to block the trades. It just seems like it'd be better for all parties if he didn't.

Ross Drawing More Suitors

With a number of uninspiring options remaining on the market, teams have started honing in on arguably the best lottery ticket still floating around.

Tyson Ross, who made just one start in 2016 before shoulder issues and eventually thoracic outlet syndrome surgery ended his season, is being chased by the Rangers, Cubs and Nationals, among others. Ross was surprisingly non-tendered by the Padres in December, making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Nationals, per Rosenthal, are the most recent team in, hoping to pair the 29-year-old with his younger brother, Jose Ross. Despite the family ties, Rosenthal characterized the Nats as "longshots" for Ross's services.

What teams will get in Ross is still unclear. The right-hander won't have pitched in almost a year, but he put up a 3.26 ERA in 33 starts with the Padres in his last full season in 2015. Ross also struck out more than a batter per inning that season.

With spring training fast approaching, Ross and many others should find new homes shortly.

Quick Hits: According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Dodgers remain "the heavy favorite" to land second baseman Brian Dozier from the Twins. We keep hearing that a final decision is close, but obviously not close enough ... Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Pirates and Astros remain in talks with the White Sox regarding a potential Jose Quintana trade. The Yankees are also reportedly interested in Quintana, though Rosenthal relays that they appear to be a "longshot" at this point due to the White Sox asking price for the 27-year-old southpaw. If the Sox don't find the market to be kind, they also seem content to hold onto Quintana for a deadline deal instead ... According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Athletics have reached out to free agent slugger Mark Trumbo. The Athletics surprisingly emerged as a legitimate suitor for Edwin Encarnacion before he signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Indians, so they can't be discounted as a possible landing spot. They'll have to pay Trumbo well to lure him to the cellar-dwelling A's and O.co Coliseum, though ... Christian Red of the New York Daily News reports that Alex Rodriguez will not attempt a comeback in 2017 ... Athletics signed OF Rajai Davis to a one-year, $6 million contract. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Davis could earn an additional $100,000 if he reaches 500 plate appearances, $150,000 for 550 plate appearances, and $200,000 for 600 plate appearances. The 36-year-old led the American League with 43 steals in 2016 while batting .249/.306/.388 with 12 homers and 48 RBI over 134 games, but Oakland's lineup won't do him any favors ... Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that the White Sox have signed catcher Geovany Soto to a minor league contract. With the way the Sox are selling off pieces, it's not hard to envision Soto breaking camp with the big club despite his minor league contract ... FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Athletics are pursuing free agent infielder Trevor Plouffe. Ryon Healy projects to open 2017 as Oakland's starting third baseman, but Plouffe would provide some depth in the corner infield spots and could also be an option for the outfield. There are worse flyers to take ... Rangers GM Jon Daniels admitted Thursday that it is unlikely Colby Lewis will return to Texas in 2017 ... Jung Ho Kang was dropped from South Korea's roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. South Korea manager Kim In-sik previously indicated that he was leaning toward doing so after Kang fled the scene of a DUI last month, but the final decision was made after he met with his coaches at the Korea Baseball Organization headquarters in Seoul. "As we all know, Kang has had some issues," Kim said at a press conference following the meeting. "So our coaching staff made this call (to drop him)."



Nathan Grimm is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter (@Nate_Grimm).
Email :Nathan Grimm



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