Posted by: Peter Houston | November 16, 2009

Brandon Phillips

Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail reports that if the Reds are serious about trading Brandon Phillips, as has been speculated, the Jays are going to be “all over him”. Blair backs up his claim by pointing to the fact that Phillips is well known to both AA and adviser Tony LaCava. LaCava was part of the Expos organization when they drafted him in ’99 and pushed for him to be included in the legendary Bartolo Colon deal when he was an adviser with the Indians. There has been a lot of talk about the Reds intention to trim payroll this offseason and unloading Brandon Phillips would fit into that plan. He’s due $11 million next year and $12 million (club option) in 2011.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t the Jays rebuilding (“building”) and don’t we already have a pretty good second baseman? Well, as for your first question, yes I thought so too, but this might be an example of AA exploring any option that makes the Jays better as a team (no speculation as to who the Jays would have to give up yet). He might have a bit of leverage because he knows the Reds are looking to cut payroll. But, the Jays would likely have to give up a couple prospects (what prospects?). Isn’t that the opposite of rebuilding? Is that what building is? To address your second question, yes, we do already have a pretty good second baseman, but apparently Jays’ scouts think Phillips has the arm to play third.

That raises another question. If he has the arm to play third, does he have the arm to play short? Even though his defence slipped a tiny bit last year, according to Fan Graphs UZR rating Phillips has been one of the best fielding second basemen in the MLB over the last few years. Not to mention he won the Gold Glove in 2008, which is pretty impressive considering he plays in the same league as Chase Utley. So, shortstop of the future? No? Too soon?

He has been fairly productive at the plate as well. In 2007, he hit .288 with 30 HR, 94 RBI and 34 SB. While his numbers have dipped a bit since, I’d say he’s still good for at least a .270 AVG, 20 HR, 80 RBI and 25 SB.

But, is he worth the money? If the Jays acquired him, and were on the hook for the full $11 million in 2010, he would be the second highest paid second baseman in the MLB. Granted, he likely wouldn’t play second in Toronto and there are some much higher paid third basemen and shortstops. If he were putting up those numbers (offensive and defesive) at short, I would argue that he is definitely worth $11 million.

The real question is: what would the Jays have to give up? Phillips is definitely a highly valued player and I couldn’t see the Reds accepting anything less than a top notch prospect.

Either way, I’d pay $11 million to see stuff like this.



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