The wheels went up on that Brandon Phillips-to-the-Nats trade rumor Thursday night and soon it sounds as if the All-Star second baseman could be settling into a new home in D.C.
The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly close to sending Phillips to the Washington Nationals in a trade that would reunite him with ex-Reds manager Dusty Baker. All that remained, according to a number of reports, is Phillips signing off on the swap.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier this week that the Nats and Reds had engaged in trade talks, and the chatter soared to new heights when Phillips sent the following tweet on Thursday night:
If you don’t have your area codes memorized, that’s Cincinnati to D.C. The Papa Pope thing, well, that’s just a reference to “Scandal.” The latest report from Rosenthal says the Reds and Nats have parameters of a trade in place, but they still need Phillips to waive his no-trade clause. To do that, he’d need a “financial adjustment,” according to Rosenthal. He’s owed $27 million over the last two seasons of a six-year extension he signed in 2012.
Phillips has what baseball calls 10-5 rights, meaning he’s played five years straight with one team and has 10 years total in the big leagues. That means he must agree to any trade. For Phillips, more than many players, that’s a big decision. As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says, Phillips lives in Cincinnati year-round and has ties to the community.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 18, 2015
If the trade goes through, Phillips would take over the Nats’ second-base job, where Danny Espinosa primiarly played last season. Since Ian Desmond is a free agent, Espinosa could shift over to shortstop if rookie Trea Turner isn’t ready to be the opening day starter. Otherwise, Espinosa could back-up every infield position. Phillips, 34, hit .294 last season with 12 homers, 70 RBIs and 23 steals.
[Elsewhere: Jeff Passan’s ranks and tracks every MLB free agent]
There’s no word yet on who the Reds could get in return for Phillips, but Jose Peraza (who Cincinnati aquired in the Todd Frazier trade) would likely take over as the starter at second base.
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