Ken Rosenthal has the developing story over at FOXSports.com …
The Washington Nationals are discussing a trade with the Cincinnati Reds that would reunite new manager Dusty Baker and second baseman Brandon Phillips in Washington, according to major-league sources on Tuesday.
Phillips carries full no-trade protection via 10-and-5 rights, so he would have to approve any swap. But you’d have to figure the 34-year-old would be open to getting out of Cincinnati, where there is a full rebuild underway.
Phillips bounced back somewhat from his brutal 2014 to hit .294/.328/.395 with 12 home runs and 70 RBI in 148 games this summer for the Reds. He still plays very good defense at second base, though not quite at the elite level we saw during his peak.
Phillips is owed $13 million in 2016 and $14 million in 2017.
Japanese starting pitcher Kenta Maeda is the biggest fish currently on the international market, but Korean first baseman Dae-ho Lee is generating some noise of his own while the Maeda posting process plays out.
Daum’s Daniel Kim reports that Lee has received multiple offers in the two-year, $4-5 million range from interested major league teams. Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review suggested last week that the Pirates might take a look.
Lee is a free agent and so he doesn’t have to follow the typical posting guidelines for players moving from Nippon Professional Baseball to North America. He stands to make around $5 million from the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2016 and could just head back to NPB if he doesn’t find an MLB contract to his liking.
Lee, 33, batted .282/.368/.524 with 31 homers and 98 RBI in 141 games for the Hawks in 2015.
Jeff Francis told MLB.com’s Thomas Harding on Tuesday that he is hanging up his cleats for good after 11-plus major league seasons.
Francis was selected ninth overall by the Rockies in 2002 out of the University of British Columbia and pitched eight total years for Colorado. The most memorable was probably 2007, when he posted a 4.22 ERA (114 ERA+) and 17 wins in 34 starts and led the Rockies to the World Series, where they would fall to the Red Sox.
He also spent time with the Royals, Reds, Athletics, and Yankees.
The native of Vancouver finished up his career in 2015 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Diamondbacks have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with infielder Joaquin Arias. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where the 31-year-old will try to earn a spot on Arizona’s Opening Day roster.
Arias appeared in an average of 90 games per season during a four-year run with the Giants from 2012-2015 — earning two World Series rings along the way — but he batted just .262/.286/.346 in 843 plate appearances during that stretch. And his career batting line is .265/.293/.350.
Arias’ value comes in his defensive versatility. He can play all over the infield.
Ender Inciarte headed to the Braves last week as part of the Shelby Miller trade, but the rangy 25-year-old outfielder might never suit up in an Atlanta uniform.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs are “one of a number of teams” to have inquired about Inciarte, whose presence on the north side of Chicago would allow $184 million newcomer Jason Heyward to play his more familiar position of right field. Having plus-plus defenders in both center and right would also make Kyle Schwarber‘s poor defense in left a little easier to swallow.
Inciarte batted .303/.338/.408 with six home runs and 21 stolen bases in 132 games this past season for Arizona and ranked among the league leaders in defensive runs saved.
He is under contractual control through 2020.