The shakeup in Cincinnati could extend beyond simply firing Dusty Baker.
Longtime radio announcer Marty Brennaman went on the air with MLB Network Radio on Friday and one of the notable nuggets he said was the team may try and trade All-Star second basemen Brandon Phillips this offseason.
According to Brennaman, the motive behind pulling the trigger on such a deal would be to free up payroll and acquire young prospects.
The 32-year-old is set to make $11 million in 2014 and still has around $50 million left on his current contract, which runs through 2017.
Although Phillips posted a career-high 103 RBI in 2013, his other offensive numbers have been declining. He recorded his lowest batting average (.261) since 2008 and his lowest on-base percentage (.310) since 2003. His runs scored have steadily decreased since 2010 while he has also seen declines in his slugging, doubles, and hits since 2011. In fairness, he did slug 18 home runs for the fourth season in a row.
In my opinion, it seems unlikely the Reds will deal an established player such as Phillips, especially following a 90-win season and especially considering the current roster is still built to contend right now. It would make little sense to fire a manager for failing in the playoffs and then trade away one of the most productive players with no replacement plan in place. A move such as this one would be more probable from a rebuilding franchise rather than one looking to act upon its closing window of opportunity. But then again, stranger things have happened before.