Brandon Phillips arrived at Reds camp today and naturally got some questions about the status of long-term contract negotiations as the second baseman enters his final season before free agency.
Phillips told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the two sides haven’t talked about a deal since “before Redsfest … it’s been a long time.”
Here’s more from Phillips, who’ll make $12 million this season before hitting the open market at age 31:
I thought it would be over with by now. It is what it is. The only thing I can do is go out there and play the game, do what’s best for the team. I love the moves we made to make the team better. That’s what it’s all about. We can all go out and get things done. My day will come. I’m not really worried about it. I’m letting my agent and the Reds take care that themselves. It would have been nice coming to camp knowing things were done. I haven’t heard anything.
Phillips added that his agent and general manager Walt Jocketty are planning to meet at some point during spring training, explaining that he doesn’t expect to set a firm deadline for talks and “just want(s) what other second baseman got.”
If true, he could be looking for something similar to Dan Uggla’s five-year, $62 million deal with the Braves or Brian Roberts’ five-year, $50 million deal with the Orioles. Historically speaking, second basemen generally haven’t landed monster contracts. Phillips’ current deal was worth $38 million for five years.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.