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Reds trade Brandon Phillips to Braves

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UPDATE, 2:31 PM EDT: The Braves and Reds have confirmed the deal. The Reds will receive left-hander Andrew McKirahan and minor league right-hander Carlos Portuondo for Brandon Phillips. “We are excited to add Brandon Phillips to our club,” Braves’ GM John Coppolella said in a statement released by the club. “He is a Gold-Glove caliber defender who will also deepen our offensive lineup. We are thrilled to ‘welcome home’ Brandon to Atlanta, where he will play in front of his family and friends and many of his fans.”

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Braves have acquired second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Reds. Neither team has confirmed the deal, though multiple reports from Olney and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman expect them to make an official announcement on Monday after “administrative boxes are checked.” The Braves will absorb just $1 million of Phillips’ remaining $14 million salary and send left-hander Andrew McKirahan and right-hander Carlos Portuondo to the Reds (via Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer).

It’s been a long offseason for Phillips, who blocked a trade to the Braves in November and cited “certain, unspecific issues” with the Reds that kept him from giving up his no-trade rights. Whether or not they addressed those issues remains unclear, though Phillips’ reservations about signing on with another team appear to be resolved.

The 35-year-old infielder rounded out his 11th season with the Reds in 2016, batting .291/.320/.421 with 11 home runs and 14 stolen bases through 584 PA. His value dipped below 1.0 fWAR for the first time since his 2005 campaign with the Indians, settling at an 0.9 mark that followed an impressive 2.7 fWAR season with the Reds in 2015. While his decline can be attributed in part to an unexpected hand injury that cropped up at the end of last season, he reportedly passed his physical on Sunday.

The trade is a timely one for both the Reds and the Braves, the latter of whom needed to improve their infield depth after newly-acquired second baseman Sean Rodriguez injured his shoulder in a car accident last month. On Saturday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that Rodriguez is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair his left shoulder and will be sidelined for 3-5 months. The Reds, meanwhile, were finally able to streamline their middle infield options and will likely turn to 22-year-old Jose Peraza as a replacement for Phillips in Cincinnati.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?