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.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.
The Blue Jays completed a four-game series sweep against the Athletics on Thursday afternoon and won their second consecutive game in walk-off fashion. Last night, the Jays went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, but a two-run home run by Justin Smoak followed by a solo home run from Kendrys Morales led to a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Thursday’s game was already interesting enough as starter Marcus Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and manager John Gibbons were all ejected by home plate umpire Will Little. Despite the adversity, the Jays battled the A’s, tying the game at four apiece when Morales blasted a solo home run — his second of the game — in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, A’s reliever Liam Hendriks walked the bases loaded with two outs to bring up Steve Pearce. Pearce worked the count full before pulling a fastball down the left field line for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.
Before Pearce, the last Jays hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam was Gregg Zaun on September 6, 2008 against the Rays, per SportsNet Stats.