Nats moving closer to Phillips deal
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com | @washingnats |
WASHINGTON -- A baseball source said there is an "85 to 90 percent" chance that Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips will waive his no-trade protection and become a member of the Nationals. Multiple reports on Thursday indicated that the clubs had reached agreement on a trade that would send Phillips to Washington, but as a "10 and 5" player, the veteran infielder must consent to any deal.
Any player with 10 years or more of Major League service time, including the past five with his current team, has the right to block any trade. Neither club has confirmed that a deal is in place.
It's not known which players would go to Cincinnati, but the source indicated that the Nationals' top prospects "are not in the picture." The Washington Post reported Friday that it is "unlikely" that Phillips will waive his no-trade protection without some sort of adjustment to his current contract, which guarantees him $27 million over the 2016-17 seasons.
If the trade happens, Phillips would be reunited with new Nationals manager Dusty Baker. The two worked together in Cincinnati from 2008-13, reaching the postseason three times. The source indicated that Baker wanted Phillips from the moment he became manager of the Nationals. A right-handed hitter, Phillips hit .294 with a .328 on-base percentage, a .395 slugging percentage, 12 homers and 70 RBIs last season.
On Thursday night, Phillips tweeted "513 to 202," a reference to the area codes of Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. While that message certainly could be partly in reference to the trade talks, Phillips also apparently did make that very trip, from Cincinnati to Washington, for an unrelated matter.
Phillips could improve the Nationals' infield defense up the middle, as well as drive in runs. He's won four National League Gold Glove Awards and one NL Silver Slugger Award.
Phillips, 34, also has the distinction of being selected by the Expos in the second round of the 1999 Draft. He was later traded to the Indians in 2002 in the blockbuster deal that brought Bartolo Colon to Montreal.
"Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything." ...~Toby Harrah, 1983