Friday, February 7, 2014

Buster Olney: Reds were 'particularly motivated' to trade Brandon Phillips last fall

According to Buster Olney of ESPN Insider, who cited other team sources, the Reds were indeed looking to move All-Star second basemen Brandon Phillips last fall, but backed off once they realized the market demand wasn't as high as they hoped.

Here is a look at what Olney had to say specifically about the situation:

Other teams say that the Reds were particularly motivated to move Brandon Phillips in the fall, and there is always the possibility they could revisit some talks before the start of spring training, with the same old road blocks still in place. Phillips, 32, is owed $50 million for the next four seasons and has had a dip in his OPS in each of the last two seasons -- and he has a limited no-trade clause. He can block deals to 12 different teams.

The Yankees, who flatly rejected a conversation about a Phillips-for-Brett Gardner deal, are one of the teams to which he could block a trade, and it appears New York has finished spending for the winter. The Dodgers are not one of the teams to which he can block a deal, and given the significant concerns of some evaluators within the organization about whether Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero can play second base, L.A. could be a natural landing spot if the Reds are intent on moving the infielder.

I don't think anyone is too surprised about Olney's report, but it does add further evidence that Cincinnati was actively shopping their longest-tenured player on the roster. At this point, I would guess the Reds are fully planning on having BP be their second basemen in 2014. But things can always change, especially if things go south in Bryan Price's first year at the helm, which could result in a mini-fire sale at the trade deadline involving both Phillips and Homer Bailey. Time will tell, obviously. 

There was also another Reds-related notable in Olney's piece: A bidding war has apparently broken out between teams to sign Bronson Arroyo. The three teams most heavily involved include the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Orioles. If you have a subscription to access ESPN Insider, you can view the column in its entirety here.

Photo Credit: Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated

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