Brandon Phillips told reporters upon arriving to Reds’ camp last month that he hadn’t spoken with the club about a possible contract extension since December. That’s about to change.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty confirmed to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com this afternoon that he plans to meet with Phillips’ representatives when they arrive in Goodyear, Arizona next week.
“They will be here this coming week,” Jocketty said Saturday. “That’s all I am going to say. There’s nothing more to talk about until I talk to them.”
Phillips is currently due to make $12 million this season before hitting free agency. He has previously said that he’s not willing to give a “homeboy hookup” to the Reds and “just want(s) what other second baseman got.” If that’s the case, he’ll likely use Dan Uggla’s five-year, $62 million deal with the Braves as a benchmark.
Phillips, who turns 31 in June, has a .280/.331/.449 batting line with 124 homers, 135 stolen bases and a .779 OPS since joining the Reds in 2006. Only 12 players have more hits (997) during the same time span. Considered one of the best second basemen in the game, Phillips has won the Gold Glove award in three out of the past four seasons.
Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.
The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.
Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.