There can only be one word to describe it, a word that is rampant in baseball these days.
How many of you out there would be happy to be guaranteed $27 million over the next two years?
THAT’S THE CONTRACT owned by Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. But obviously it isn’t enough.
For the second time in three years, the Reds had Phillips traded and for the second time he enforced his no-trade rights and nixed the trades.
The Reds had him traded to the New York Yankees two years ago but Phillips said no because the Yankees wouldn’t renegotiate his contract for more years and more money.
A COUPLE OF WEEKS ago the Reds and Washington Nationals agreed on a trade. Once again, because he couldn’t get his contract renegotiated Phillips said no deal.
What does this say? It says several things. It says Phillips is a bit greedy. It says he doesn’t particularly care if he wins or loses. It says he isn’t even interested in rejoining former Reds manager Dusty Baker, now manager of the Nationals and a manager Phillips adores. He his nickname for Baker is ‘Poppa Pope.’
WITH THE NATIONALS, Phillips would have chance to play on a winning team, a team with a chance to win a World Series. With the rebuilding Reds Phillips won’t play on a winning team for the final two years of his contract.
What makes his decisions even more mysterious is that he wants to stay with a team that doesn’t want him, a team that twice tried to trade him.
When the Reds traded Todd Frazier, they acquired young second baseman Jose Peraza from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Reds look at him as their second baseman of the future and they hoped it would be the immediate future.
NOW WHAT? NOW what do they do with Phillips still on the roster? If the Reds were brave, they would sit Phillips down next year and play Peraza at second base, but the Reds can’t afford to sit a player who will make $13 million in 2016.
There is no doubt that Phillips can still play. He had a decent season at the plate last year and his defensive skills remain top shelf, even though he likes to make a lot of routine plays look like difficult and outstanding plays.
But he is 34 years old. While he keeps himself buff and in shape, his skills could dwindle quickly and the Reds would like to start over without Phillips.
TO TURN DOWN TWO trades is a selfish move. The team doesn’t want him. Yes, he is within his contractural rights. But does he want to win? He could have played next year in Washington for the same salary he will make from the Reds in 2016 and have a chance to win.
The Nationals slammed shut the trade window when Phillips wouldn’t take the trade. They signed New York Mets free agent second baseman Daniel Murphy to a three-year $37.5 million deal this week. And the market for Phillips has to be limited, especially if he wants more money and a contract extension.
So the Reds are stuck with a player they don’t really want. It’s a Christmas present they didn’t want, like a bucket of coal of a package of sticks.
PHILLIPS, OF COURSE, is popular with the fans. His flashy smile wins them over and his interaction with them is admirable, both in person and on social media.
A lot of fans are happy he is staying with the Reds, but it is not in the best interest of the team or for him.
Obviously, though, he doesn’t care. But it makes no sense at all why Phillips wants to stay.