Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips blocked a trade that would have sent him to the Braves back in November. Rosenthal notes that the Braves were trying to bring Phillips in at the same time they pursued Sean Rodriguez, who signed a two-year $11.5 million contract later that month. As a result, the Braves are almost certainly no longer interested in Phillips.
Phillips, 35, has one year and $14 million remaining on his contract with the rebuilding Reds. As the Reds have some younger players who could benefit from experience, namely Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, Phillips is looking at reduced playing time during the 2017 season in Cincinnati.
Phillips hit a serviceable .291/.320/.416 with 11 home runs, 64 RBI, 74 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 584 plate appearances last season.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.