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.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.