Brandon Phillips: “How the [expletive] am I declining?”

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Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips isn’t talking to the Cincinnati media, but he’s willing to talk to the national media and willing to talk to the national media about why he’s not talking to the Cincinnati media.

Case in point, this Phillips quote to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com:

I don’t have nothing to say to those cats. They know what the deal is. They just talk about how I was falling off and declining. How the [expletive] am I declining? I had 100 … ribbies last year. And I did that with one … hand. And I won a Gold Glove? So how the [expletive] am I declining? Come on, man.

Phillips noting that he played through an injury for much of last season is certainly valid, but it’s really not all that difficult to see why those pesky local media members think he’s been declining:

YEAR     AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS
2011    .300    .353    .457    .810
2012    .281    .321    .429    .750
2013    .261    .310    .396    .706

Unless, of course, you judge a hitter strictly on his RBI totals, which Phillips apparently does. In that case he’s [expletive] better than ever!

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.