Bill Baer

GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 1: Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during a spring training game against the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark on March 1, 2016 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Report: Brandon Phillips blocked a trade to the Braves

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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.

Chris Berman won’t be calling the Home Run Derby anymore

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 09:  ESPN personality Chris Berman addresses the crowd during the State Farm Home Run Derby at Kauffman Stadium on July 9, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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ESPN announced on Thursday that on-air personality Chris Berman will assume a new position for the company after the NFL season. He will make on-air appearances and serve in public-facing roles on ESPN’s behalf.

As a result, Berman will no longer be involved with ESPN’s NFL coverage in-studio, the NFL draft, as well as the Home Run Derby. Berman has been present for each ESPN presentation of the Derby. Berman has also called MLB games and hosted Baseball Tonight.

Berman will be inexorably linked to the Home Run Derby for his famous “back, back, back” call.

Alex Rodriguez will not attempt a comeback in 2017

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees stands at second base and looks to the outfield after hitting one run double in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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Christian Red of the New York Daily News reports that former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez will not attempt a comeback in 2017. Instead, he’ll serve as a “special advisor” to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. The Yankees still owe him $21 million for 2017 regardless, as Red notes.

Rodriguez, 41, struggled to a .200/.247/.351 triple-slash line with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 243 plate appearances. The Yankees released him in mid-August and he did not latch on with another team. Rodriguez joined FOX Sports for their playoff coverage as he did in 2015.

If his career is over, Rodriguez is sitting on 696 home runs, the fourth-most in baseball history behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), and Babe Ruth (714). Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees including a clause in which he was to be paid $6 million for reaching home run milestones (660, 714, 755, 762, 763). Rodriguez also retires with 117.7 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which is the 12th most all-time among position players.