The Phillips question
After the Bryan Price press conference, I asked Reds general manager Walt Jocketty about the trade rumors regarding Brandon Phillips that have circulated of late. Jocketty was certainly aware they were floating around, as was Phillips.
“He texted wanting to know if we were trading him. I told him that I have not spoken to anybody about that,” Jocketty said Tuesday. “I’m not talking to any clubs about him.”
However, Jocketty would not go so far as to guarantee that Phillips would be with the Reds at Spring Training 2014.
“I’m not saying that,” Jocketty said. “We’ve got some things we’ve got to look at on how we’re going to improve our club. I’m not going to say nobody is untouchable. Obviously, we want to keep as much of this club intact as we can.”
Trading Phillips would be a tall order, namely because he is owed $50 million over the last four years of his contract. That could leave a limited circle of suitors, especially to make a trade that would improve the Reds as they try to go further in the playoffs than in recent years.
The off-the-field controversies involving Phillips this summer when he criticized the front office’s handling of his contract to Cincinnati Magazine and a verbal attack of a reporter caught on camera are not expected to enter in the equation if a deal is made. Jocketty said any potential deal involving Phillips would be a baseball decision that’s best for the club.
“Absolutely,” Jocketty affirmed.