Brandon Phillips' trash talk comes back to bite

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Brandon Phillips is flashy and likes to live large.

He drives a custom Audi with purple paint and Gold Gloves on the wheels, and he blames his sweet ride for his recent reckless driving charge. (“I really didn’t know how fast I was going. That’s how powerful the car is.”)

The Cincinnati Reds’ All-Star second baseman also likes to talk, and he leveled some choice words at the St. Louis Cardinals before Monday’s game between the top two teams in the NL Central.

“I’d play against these guys on one leg,” Phillips insisted before the game. “We have to beat these guys. All they do is bitch and moan about everything — all of them. They’re little bitches — all of them.

“I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals.”

We got the message, loud and clear, and there’s nothing wrong with injecting a little spice into a division race that has until recently flown below the radar.

The problem for Phillips is that a response came quickly and with much authority as the Cardinals responded with a 7-3 romp on Monday night to pull within a game of the division lead.

Even worse, Tony La Russa used Phillips’ quote in a clever ploy to drive a wedge between Phillips and his Reds teammates. La Russa told Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I don’t think that will go over well in his clubhouse,” La Russa said. “Phillips is ripping his teammates. (Scott) Rolen, Edmonds, (Miguel) Cairo, (Russ) Springer, all of the ex-Cardinals over there. He isn’t talking about this year. He’s talking about the way we’ve always played. And those guys are old Cardinals. Tell him he’s ripping his own teammates, because they were all Cardinals.”

Oooh snap!

For the record, Phillips was 0-for-5 with a strikeout on Monday.  Lucky for him, he has two more games to back up his talk.

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Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.