Sunday, October 20, 2013

Brandon Phillips dubbed 'not so popular' in the Reds clubhouse

The further we get from the end of the season, the more likely it appears the Reds are adamant about trading one of its most popular players, Brandon Phillips.

Initial reports suggesting the team may be open to trading their All-Star second basemen have quickly grown into reports claiming it's an inevitable event.

Aside from the previously reported reasons justifying a trade involving Phillips, such as comments he made to Cincinnati Magazine earlier this year crying foul about his contract, or walking into Dusty Baker's office and berating Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans over a tweet, legendary writer Hal McCoy also revealed some damning nuggets about Phillips in his most recent article, too.

Here are a few snippets taken from Saturday's piece:

- While Phillips is popular with fans through his Twitter account and his willingness to sign autographs, he is not so popular in the clubhouse and is thought of as a self-promoter. 

- Said one man who is in the clubhouse every day, “You can’t tell by Brandon’s face whether we won or lost, but you can tell if he went 0 for 4 or 2 for 4 no matter if we won or lost.”

- At least one National League scout said late last year, “I wouldn’t have that guy on my team.

- By dealing Phillips the Reds rid themselves of a contract worth $50 million over the next four years and they rid themselves of a troublesome personality in the clubhouse.

McCoy also criticized Phillips for being too much of a "hot dog" on the field and noted that the infamous tag he made in Houston this season, where Phillips took a throw and dropped his glove between his legs to make the tag, may have cost him a Gold Glove Award.

In a sport where chemistry and camaraderie may be more important than any other, considering the fact that players are forced to live and play everyday together for nearly eight months, teams cannot afford to have any player who they deem as an outcast on the roster. Well, unless they deem that player's ability more than compensates for their lack of willingness to play with a team-first attitude. This, along with the fact that Phillips is owed $50 million on his contract, could be why the Reds are suddenly interested in shipping the 32-year-old out of town.

If the Reds were in a rebuilding mode, trading away a declining player that you still owe a ton of money to would make perfect sense. But because the Reds are still very much in a position to win for the next couple years, and because ownership just fired its manager in hopes of taking the next step in the playoffs, ridding oneself of an established and still relatively productive player in Phillips, with no obvious replacement, is a risky proposition at best. It will be up to the front office to decide whether losing Phillips is worth that risk.

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