The Cincinnati Reds and longtime 2B Brandon Philips relationship has become strained in recent years. Since the 2015-2016 offseason, the Reds have tried to ship him out on two separate occasions, each met with Phillips using his no-trade clause to stop the trade. While the latest trade attempt to the Atlanta Braves had no incentive for Philips besides being from Georgia, it is unclear why he stopped a trade last offseason to the Washington Nationals, a championship contender. There, he would have played for former manager and friend Dusty Baker, while being the front-runner for the starting second basemen job. Still, Phillips opted to stay in Cincinnati.
This presents a question looming in the heads of Reds fans and front office alike; what is keeping Phillips in Cincinnati?
Brandon Phillips has been elite at second base for the Cincinnati since he arrived in 2006, hitting for a .279 average and winning a Silver Slugger award in 2011. Defensively, he has been second to none, brining home 4 Gold Glove awards and amazing Reds fans with his diving plays while playing second base.
Even with the Reds being well below average in most of his time in Cincinnati, Philips flashy smile and flashy play has made him the fan favorite in Cincinnati. It is well known that Phillips loves the city, and the city loves him back.
That being said, the Reds organization has still been attempting to move him, and with good reason. After another year spent in the National League cellar, the Reds have to look down the road a few years to when they have the potential to be good. At age 35 and beyond his glory days, Phillips is foreseeably not in those plans. Even with a good year or two possibly left in him, it seems it would wasted in Cincinnati. With having up and coming prospects such as Jose Peraza scattered through the farm system, it seems that Phillips is set to start losing playing time in order to make room for the future.
The Phillips situation is a tricky one in Cincinnati, and it seems that there will be no right answer for the Reds front office. If they keep attempting to move Phillips, it will only make the Reds look bad for trying to push out a player who has given so much to not only the team, but the city during his tenure. And even worse, if they Phillips keeps rejecting trades, it will only cause more disruption for the team once the season begins. However, if they stop trying to trade Phillips, they are only prolonging their recent stretch of mediocrity that Reds fans are growing more and more impatient with. No matter what happens between Phillips and the Reds, they need to get on the same page, and soon. They should be focused on building for the future, and need to figure out where Phillips fits in in the Reds organization now, and possibly for the rest of his career.