Reds will exercise $12 million option on Brandon Phillips

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General manager Walt Jocketty announced that the Reds intend to exercise their $12 million option on Brandon Phillips for next season and indicated that the two sides have had some preliminary talks about a long-term contract extension.

Phillips tweeted about having “a lot on my mind” because today might be his final home game with the Reds, but Jocketty quickly squashed that by telling John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer: “He’ll be with us.”

As an elite defensive second baseman with an above-average bat Phillips is definitely worth the $12 million investment for 2012. He’s had arguably the best season of his career, with highs in batting average (.294) and on-base percentage (.346) to go with his second-best OPS (.798), but Phillips has ceased being an effective base-stealer and at age 30 committing for more than a couple seasons would certainly be risky for the Reds at his current price.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.