Phillips is entering his eighth season with the Reds after the team acquired him via trade from the Indians in April 2006. The only player Cincinnati had to give up in the exchange was a player to be named later, which turned out to be pitching prospect Jeff Stevens. Stevens went on to appear in just 33 games in the majors and posted an ERA of 6.27. Phillips, on the other hand, has turned into a star and one of the best second basemen in the business.
Although last year didn't prove as fruitful for Phillips as prior years, the Stone Mountain, Ga. native still had himself a nice individual season. In 147 games, he sported a .281/.321/.429 slash with 18 homers, 77 RBI, 86 runs scored, 30 doubles, and 15 stolen bases. Furthermore, he batted .375 (9-24) with one homer, seven RBI, and three doubles in the NLDS. He also displayed tremendous defensive prowess with web gem after web gem throughout the season. Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman marveled on several different occasions as to how Phillips seemingly provided a highlight reel play virtually every night. However, Phillips was somehow left off the All-Star roster and denied a fourth career Gold Glove Award. The latter honor went to Cubs second basemen Darwin Barney instead.
Nonetheless, 2013 provides a new slate for Phillips. The addition of Shin-Soo Choo to the lineup means that Phillips can now presumably slide down to the No. 2 spot in the batting order -- a spot in which he has performed well in throughout his career (.279 BA). Choo should take some considerable pressure off Phillips which in turn should lead to a good offensive showing from both players this season.
With that in mind, here some 2013 projections for the 31-year-old:
*Stats based on 645 plate appearances
*Stats based on 671 plate appearances
*Stats based on 650 plate appearances
As you can see, the projections are eerily similar to each other. This is probably because Phillips has been a model of consistency since joining the Reds. We have come to expect above average offensive production, superior glove work, and great tweets from the All-Star. Let's hope for more of the same in '13.
Here are the links to past player previews: