From the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s John Fay comes this update on the Reds’ negotiations toward a contract extension with Brandon Phillips:
The Reds haven’t talked to Phillips’ agents since the winter meetings.
“We decided to table it till January,” [GM Walt] Jocketty said.
Phillips told reporters late last season that he would not be offering the Reds a “homeboy hookup” on a long-term deal, but tweeted a little over a month ago that talks were “moving in the right direction.” He was reportedly made an offer in early December.
The 30-year-old batted .300/.353/.457 with 18 home runs, 38 doubles and 82 RBI in 674 plate appearances this past season for the third-place Reds while playing his usual brand of elite-level defense at second base. If the Cincinnati front office fails to lock him up, Phillips will hit the free agent market next winter.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.