Nathan Grimm

Offseason Lowdown

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Lowdown: Braves Get Phillips

Monday, February 13, 2017


An unfortunate injury reignited talks that finally landed Brandon Phillips in a new locale.

The Braves acquired Brandon Phillips from the Reds on Sunday in exchange for left-hander Andrew McKirahan and right-hander Carlos Portuondo. The Reds will also pay roughly $13 million of the $14 million owed to Phillips in 2017, the last year of his deal.

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The two sides had discussed Phillips in the past -- FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal in January said Phillips vetoed a trade to the Braves in November, and there was more smoke last month -- but a shoulder injury sustained by Sean Rodriguez during a car crash a few weeks ago restarted those talks. Rodriguez is slated to be sidelined at least three to five months after he undergoes left shoulder surgery next week, and a source tells David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Rodriguez could actually miss the entire year.

Phillips is actually an upgrade, and one that cost very little for the Braves to make. Despite turning 35 during the 2016 season, Phillips still hit .291/.320/.416 with 11 homers and 14 steals while playing 141 games.

“(Phillips) is a Gold-Glove caliber defender who will also deepen our offensive lineup,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said of Phillips. “We are thrilled to welcome home Brandon to Atlanta, where he will play in front of his family and friends and many of his fans.”

ESPN's Buster Olney hears the Braves will likely bat Phillips sixth in the batting order.

For the Reds, the trade was all about creating opportunity for Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera. Phillips and his no-trade clause, along with his popularity among the fans, held the Reds hostage in a way, forcing him into the everyday lineup for a team with little to play for in 2016 and 2017.

"We appreciate Brandon's contributions to our organization," Reds general manager Dick Williams said in a statement released by the team. "He excited our fan base and was an important part of several seasons of winning Reds baseball. We wish him well with this next opportunity."

His absence will allow the club to give Peraza regular at-bats, who earned the opportunity after batting .324/.352/.411 with 21 steals in 72 games last year. Peraza also played 31 games at shortstop and another 21 in the outfield, so even if he doesn't make 150 starts at second base he should still approximate 600 at-bats from somewhere.

It could also be an opening for Herrera, who was the central return for the Reds from the Mets in the Jay Bruce trade last summer. The second baseman was blocked in New York by Neil Walker and in Cincinnati by Phillips, but he's major-league ready and could grab the starting spot at some point, pushing Peraza to shortstop or the outfield.

Neither McKirahan nor Portuondo is considered much of a prospect.

Editor’s Note: Mookie Betts graces the cover of the new Rotoworld Draft Guide magazine. You can pick it up in stores or order right now. Our online version of the draft guide is now available with fresh content added throughout the preseason.

 

 

Quick Hits: According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pirates GM Neal Huntington remains open to trading Andrew McCutchen. Utility man Josh Harrison is also available. The Pirates came close to dealing McCutchen during the Winter Meetings but never quite pulled the trigger. The 30-year-old is coming off a down year and the Pirates have top outfield prospect Austin Meadows waiting in the wings. Still, it would be a heck of a deal to pull off at this juncture of the offseason ... Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Rays have agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with Nathan Eovaldi. The right-hander is expected to miss all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August, but the deal includes incentives and a club option for 2018 that is surely team-friendly and allows the Rays to make a decision on Eovaldi after monitoring his progress for a year ... Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that 18-year-old Cuban left-hander Osvaldo Hernandez has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and is now free to sign with any team of his choosing. The Padres, Reds, Astros, Mets, Braves, Rangers and Red Sox are among the many clubs that have already expressed interest in Hernandez. Due to his age, he is subject to international bonus pools, which restricts some teams (Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Angels, Rays, Yankees and Red Sox) from signing him until July 2. The young southpaw has a live fastball that has been clocked between 92-94 MPH ... Manolo Hernandez of Beisbolporgatas.com reports that the Dodgers have agreed to a one-year contract with Franklin Gutierrez. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports adds that the contract will be worth $2.6 million and allow Gutierrez to earn up to an additional $400,000 in incentives. At this stage of his career, Gutierrez is a situational hitter who excels against left-handers ... Heyman also reports that Chase Utley will make $2 million plus incentives in his new, one-year contract with the Dodgers. Utley probably could have gotten more money and a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere, but the 38-year-old clearly was keen on remaining with the Dodgers, it seems ... FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports the Padres are still in the mix for Travis Wood and Jered Weaver. Rosenthal notes that the club could probably sign one of Wood or Weaver but not both of them. He also adds that Jake Peavy is less likely of an option for the Padres. It's been reported previously that Weaver has an offer in hand from San Diego for more than $1.75 million, and it would likely cost them more to sign Wood ... Cubs and RHP Pedro Strop avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.5 million contract. Strop requested $6 million while the Cubs offered $4.6 million when arbitration figures were exchanged last month.



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



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