Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has hit just .234/.279/.297 in 68 plate appearances this month and has an underwhelming .725 OPS on the season. But he’s a pretty talented defender and does have some power, albeit inconsistent.
The Reds seem to like him and are probably going to exercise his $12 million club option for 2012. They may even consider signing him to a long-term deal when he gets closer to free agency.
Phillips, though, wants the future to be sorted out this summer. He wants an extension, and he was fairly open about the matter on Saturday while speaking to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“Hopefully, it happens,” said the two-time Gold Glove winner. “If it doesn’t happen this year, I feel in my head and my heart, it’s not going to happen.”
“I told the Reds and the whole world this is where I want to be. If it doesn’t happen, I’m going to be very, very disappointed. I feel like I’ve made this a second home. I bought a house here. This is where I want to be, man. The fans just took me in. I feel like I need to stay here and give back.”
“It was bothering me for a while. Even if we talked about it, I would have been OK. But nothing about it? It kind of bothered me. All I can do is go out and play and not even worry about it. I ain’t gonna lie — it was bothering me for a minute.”
Because productive middle infielders are hard to find and because Phillips is still in his prime at age 29, the asking price on that extension is going to be high. So high that the Reds’ front office is unlikely to rush into it.
Phillips may sound as if he’s willing to give the Reds a “hometown” discount, but that basically never happens.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.