Reds GM downplays Brandon Phillips rumors … sort of

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Amid reports that the Reds are planning to trade Brandon Phillips this offseason general manager Walt Jocketty was asked about the situation yesterday and insisted: “I’m not talking to any clubs about him.”

Jocketty told reporters assembled for the Bryan Price introductory press conference that he recently texted Phillips to assure him “I have not spoken to anybody about that.”

Of course, when asked if he’d guarantee Phillips will still be in Cincinnati come Opening Day the GM replied:

I’m not saying that. We’ve got some things we’ve got to look at on how we’re going to improve our club. I’m not going to say nobody is untouchable. Obviously, we want to keep as much of this club intact as we can.

So read into all of that whatever you will. My take is that the Reds are clearly willing to field offers on Phillips and assuming there are teams that view the 32-year-old second baseman as worth the $50 million remaining on his contract a trade seems pretty likely.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.