Last night, late in the night; the Cincinnati Reds traded Brandon Phillips to the Atlanta Braves for two pitchers. We’re not even going to mention the pitchers because that isn’t why the Cincinnati Reds made the trade.
This was purely a salary dump and an opening of the spot for playing time for guys like Dilson Herrera and Jose Peraza. That’s fine I guess, but it closes the chapter on a decade of solid play at the second base position and another core piece of the best Reds teams in thirty years is gone. In fact; almost the final core piece.
Back on April 7th, 2006; the Reds acquired Brandon Emil Phillips from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later. That player would end up being named Jeff Stevens.
He was an All-Star three times in that span and won four Gold Glove awards. More than anything, for all the reports that you heard Brandon Phillips was a guy the Cleveland brass was concerned with having ‘baggage’ or being a clubhouse problem; he was one of the greatest glue guys ever to wear the Reds uniform. He was good to fans, he was good to his teammates. He played hurt. He played hard. He played hard when the Reds were bad. He hit home runs in big spots like the 2010 and 2012 NLDS. He was everything you would want in a player.
He had 191 home runs as a Red and 194 steals, hitting .279. He filled the lead off role and clean up role. He hit all over the lineup. I really liked Brandon Phillips.
He heads to Atlanta which is close to his hometown of Stone Mountain, Georgia and will be playing for a team on the upswing which is a positive for him. He’ll fit in nicely there as the second baseman for mega-prospect Dansby Swanson.
The Reds were in a different place in 2012 when they signed Phillips to a six-year, $72.5 million dollar contract extension. They obviously thought that they could keep most of their core together, so they signed Votto and Phillips and went on about business. But man did that window close quickly. And now, out of that core; all that remains is Joey Votto and Homer Bailey. Phillips was a relative dinosaur, a holdover from the days of Griffey and Dunn when the Reds were entering a revival. It’s rare this day in age that a guy like Phillips – who was drafted by the Expos in 1999 – remain in one place for so long while so many other players pass through the clubhouse around him.
I really enjoyed and appreciated Brandon Phillips. He was an entertainer. He was a ballplayer in every sense of the world. He deserves this post and a little more fanfare on the way out. I didn’t even get one text from any of my fellow Reds fans which shows you how down on the organization everyone is right now. No one even really cares, like is mentioned at Sonny’s funeral in Bronx Tale. In the end, no one cares.
Well we care. Thank you Brandon.