The possibility was reported earlier this week and now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Nationals have an apparent agreement in place to acquire second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Reds. However, Phillips has full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the majors and five with the same team) and needs to sign off on any deal. Those talks are in progress, though Phillips’ tweet earlier tonight would indicate that he’s D.C. bound…
Phillips, 34, bounced back from an awful 2014 by batting .294/.328/.395 with 12 home runs and 70 RBI this past season. He also stole 23 bases, his most since 2009. Still, he only finished with a 97 OPS+ and has a 95 OPS+ over the past four seasons. On the bright side, he still plays solid defense at second base.
Phillips, who lives year-round in Cincinnati, is owed $13 million in 2016 and $14 million in 2017. Rosenthal hears that he’ll require a “financial adjustment” to sign off on the deal, but moving to a contender while being reunited with Dusty Baker are two factors in Washington’s favor.
Assuming the deal gets done, the Nationals will likely use Danny Espinosa at shortstop until top prospect Trea Turner is deemed ready for the majors. The club recently dealt Yunel Escobar to the Angels and plan to move Anthony Rendon back to his natural position at third base.
The Reds acquired Jose Peraza from the Dodgers on Tuesday as part of the three-team Todd Frazier trade and he could get the first shot at second base if Phillips gets dealt. Cincinnati also has Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez in their middle infield.
Phillips has spent 10 seasons with the Reds while making three All-Star appearances and winning four Gold Glove Awards.