UPDATE, 2:31 PM EDT: The Braves and Reds have confirmed the deal. The Reds will receive left-hander Andrew McKirahan and minor league right-hander Carlos Portuondo for Brandon Phillips. “We are excited to add Brandon Phillips to our club,” Braves’ GM John Coppolella said in a statement released by the club. “He is a Gold-Glove caliber defender who will also deepen our offensive lineup. We are thrilled to ‘welcome home’ Brandon to Atlanta, where he will play in front of his family and friends and many of his fans.”
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Braves have acquired second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Reds. Neither team has confirmed the deal, though multiple reports from Olney and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman expect them to make an official announcement on Monday after “administrative boxes are checked.” The Braves will absorb just $1 million of Phillips’ remaining $14 million salary and send left-hander Andrew McKirahan and right-hander Carlos Portuondo to the Reds (via Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer).
It’s been a long offseason for Phillips, who blocked a trade to the Braves in November and cited “certain, unspecific issues” with the Reds that kept him from giving up his no-trade rights. Whether or not they addressed those issues remains unclear, though Phillips’ reservations about signing on with another team appear to be resolved.
The 35-year-old infielder rounded out his 11th season with the Reds in 2016, batting .291/.320/.421 with 11 home runs and 14 stolen bases through 584 PA. His value dipped below 1.0 fWAR for the first time since his 2005 campaign with the Indians, settling at an 0.9 mark that followed an impressive 2.7 fWAR season with the Reds in 2015. While his decline can be attributed in part to an unexpected hand injury that cropped up at the end of last season, he reportedly passed his physical on Sunday.
The trade is a timely one for both the Reds and the Braves, the latter of whom needed to improve their infield depth after newly-acquired second baseman Sean Rodriguez injured his shoulder in a car accident last month. On Saturday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that Rodriguez is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair his left shoulder and will be sidelined for 3-5 months. The Reds, meanwhile, were finally able to streamline their middle infield options and will likely turn to 22-year-old Jose Peraza as a replacement for Phillips in Cincinnati.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”