In today’s must-read, John Fay questions Brandon Phillips’ maturity.

I’ve been convinced for a while that Brandon Phillips will be traded before 2010 is over. He’s a good player, but overrated, and there’s always so much drama around him. Plus, he eats pretzels when in the field. With Todd Frazier nearly ready at 2B, and with BP likely having some value on the trade market, and with BP’s contract getting ready to rise to $11 million next year…well, the writing’s on the wall. The Reds can get better by trading him, if the right deal comes along.

Until then, I don’t expect this is the last we’ll hear of this dust-up. If BP’s feelings were hurt by not being written about, how will he respond to his maturity being questioned? Stay tuned.

43 Responses

  1. Bill Lack

    I also applaud John Fay for further exposing Phillips immaturity. He’s mad at a reporter for not coming to him sooner? Grow up, son.

  2. GregD

    Phillips was always the guy who had his feelings hurt that Griffey & Dunn received more attention from the media. He made a big deal about Hamilton’s attention.

    He even had some things to say about Votto last year, didn’t he?

    So, Fay asks if Team Phillips has time for an interview this weekend. Team Phillips says “no”.

    About five minutes later, Phillips walked up to me, put his arm around me and said: “I’ve been here a week and now you’re gonna try to talk to me?”

    But the larger issue here is why Phillips wouldn’t talk to me. It was because he felt slighted because he wasn’t one of the first three position players I wrote about.

    It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to trade him last year…either before the season started or by the trade deadline. His average per year was more tradeable…if they wait until July 2010 or after the season, they’ll get less in return. Plus, if they do post a winning season, I don’t see them trading him.

  3. Travis G.

    Doubt the Face of the Franchise will be talking to Fay anytime soon. Gotta applaud him for having the guts to write that. It’s not easy to be so openly critical of someone you have to interact with on a day-to-day basis.

    But it was a really bush-league move on Phillips’ part. He should have just left it at “nope.” Coming up to Fay, putting his arm around him and telling him why his wittle feewings were huwt is totally weak.

  4. Travis G.

    Furthermore, Phillips should have known why he wasn’t a story coming into spring training. He’s been here a few years, and he’s remarkably consistent. We know who he is and what to expect from him.

    He should have taken Fay’s lack of immediate interest as something of a compliment.

  5. Dan

    Hmmm… I’m torn. I see John’s point and do kind of agree w/ it… (it’s funny how sensitive Brandon is)… but is John possibly being just as petty by running this story?

  6. hoosierdad

    @Travis G.: Or, been more like Bailey. He said he was glad the spotlight was on Chapman. BTW, Bailey pitched 2 innings in the “B” game today. Retired 6 straight and struck out 3. FB topped out at about 92 mph. Looking good early. His FB should get faster with more throwing.

  7. Chris Garber

    This is hardly the first time. Rosecrans has gone down a similar path, for similarly-silly reasons. McCoy too.

    I don’t know if it was ever established as fact, but the consensus is that BP was the guy making off-the-record gripes about all the “attention” Josh Hamilton got for coming back from the dead (almost literally).

    I generally agree that reporters need to keep their personal snubs out of print, BUT the very point of Fay’s article was whether/how/when BP was going to overcome his immaturity issues and take the next step. Combined with the on-field crap, Phillips’ goofy focus on media relations seems like another thing in the way of his “getting it.”

    As I said yesterday, the best thing for BP, and the best thing for me as a Reds fan, is for Brandon Phillips to keep his mouth shut.

    • Travis G.

      I don’t know if it was ever established as fact, but the consensus is that BP was the guy making off-the-record gripes about all the “attention” Josh Hamilton got for coming back from the dead (almost literally).

      That’s always been my understanding, too, but I can sort of see his point on this one. When you have guys willing to sacrifice their health and reputation with steroids just to hang on to a 25-man roster spot, it’d really have to tick you off to see a guy take a few years off to smoke crack and then show up at spring training and make it look so easy.

      It’d probably burn you up a little, too, when fans go out and buy his jersey and not yours. Phillips is a black guy who went to a nearly all-white high school. He’s acutely aware of these things.

  8. Dan

    I also feel compelled to mention… Dusty says that Brandon has cut down on his GIDP’s…

    Here are the numbers as a Red

    2006 – 19 GIDP (8th most in NL)
    2007 – 26 GIDP (3rd most in NL)
    2008 – 13 GIDP
    2009 – 21 GIDP (8th most in NL)

    Is that really cutting down?

    As a Red, Brandon is averaging 22 GIDP’s per 162 games played (and that’s averaging 99 K’s per 162 games — I don’t hate K’s in general, but every time you K you automatically can’t GIDP).

    As a Red, Sean Casey averaged 20 GIDP’s per 162 games played (averaging 71 K’s per 162 games).

    I love Sean, but he’s about the slowest Red I can think of in recent memory.

    When you ground into DP’s at a higher rate than Casey… and when you have the speed to steal 30 bases a year… something odd is definitely up.

    Brandon’s GIDP’s effectively make his OBP even worse than it already is (.324 OBP as a Red). For reference, the NL league average OBP last year was .331 and THAT INCLUDES PITCHERS.

  9. Steve Price

    Trade Phillips for a shortstop.

  10. Bill Lack

    This article appeared yesterday in the print edition (the Enquirer now has a new thing called “First in Print”…article that won’t appear on-line until the next day, to attempt to get people to purchase the print edition) and the biggest problem with the article IMO is John making any comparison between Phillips and Barry Larkin. One is a good, average 2B…the other was a team captain, MVP, and (at worst) borderline MVP candidate.

    Phillips chances of being a Barry Larkin are about the same as the chances of my managing the Reds this season.

  11. Dan

    If the goal is to trade Phillips, let’s keep in mind that his trade value is going to plummet the closer and closer that $11 million salary gets.

  12. david

    I’m startled at how much you guys love to trash Brandon Phillips. You guys cherry pick the two areas where he could improve (OBP, GIDP) and completely ignore everything else he brings to the table (gold glove defense, 20/20 every year). Why? Best I can tell it’s because you don’t like his attitude. So what?! I frankly don’t care if he jogs to first on an easy grounder. Junior did that almost every chance he could. You know who’ll sprint to first on a routine grounder? Adam Rosales. You take him, and I’ll take BP and we’ll see who comes out on the smilin’ side.

    The fact of the matter is Phillips is a very good second baseman. We shouldn’t be talking about trading Brandon Phillips. Good teams don’t trade a guy like Phillips. Good teams use a guy like Todd Frazier as a Mark DeRosa-esque super utilityman. Frazier’s upside is his bat, but convince me it is better than Phillips’ stick. I don’t think you can. His glove is nowhere near gold glove.

    Bottom line – the team is better with Brandon Phillips. It’s an easy answer. Maybe the team is better off without Phillips batting clean up, but that’s about as far as an argument as you are going to be able to make.

    • GregD

      We shouldn’t be talking about trading Brandon Phillips.

      Ironically, that’s why the article was written…because we weren’t talking about Phillips!

      Bottom line – the team is better with Brandon Phillips. It’s an easy answer.

      Without taking into account what they could receive for him in a trade?

      The question becomes the same for every player that stays in the league for a while…at what point does cost exceed value?

  13. Dan

    @david: Oh, I agree w/ just about everything you said here. Brandon’s a very good player. I agree.

    I’ve just thought for a while that he’s overrated — that he’s seen as a bordering-on-great player — which means that he might bring a lot in a trade.

    And if Frazier is going to be ready soon as an almost-as-good replacement at 2B, then maybe dealing Phillips is worth considering.

    But anyway, yes, Brandon’s power, speed, durability, and defense are all MUCH better than average for 2B’s. I totally agree.

    I just don’t think he’s GREAT b/c of the OBP and GIDP’s… which are both very significant portions of a guy’s offensive contribution.

  14. preach

    Maybe part of Dusty’s plan to reduce Brandon’s GIDP’s are to have guys with low OBP’s consistently hitting in front of him so no one’s on base when he bats. Problem solved. What else can I help you with?

  15. Robert

    I thought that the more immature act was the redaction of all of the responses citisizing John Fay and the Enquirer. One minute, there are nearly 30 posts, most against the article, and the next there are two applauding the article. So a player didn’t talk to a reporter. Big deal, they both need to grow up and get over their hurt feelings. Professional my arse!

  16. ethan

    Brandon is being a kid and so is Fay.

    So what if Brandon is being immature?

    Can he catch the ball well? Yes

    Can he hit it out, for a solid AVG, and get his fare share of RBI? Yes

    Is he an asset for the team? Yes

    So what’s the problem if he’s acting childish?

  17. JD

    I am really confused here. I’ll admit I don’t know half as much about the stats and going-ons of every player as y’all do, but I love the game and I love the Reds. That said, I’m curious about a couple of things.

    First; why would you take your PROVEN star player and trade him at his height? So you can build a bigger farm team of unproven talent? We HAVE unproven talent. I see his “immaturity” as fun loving and quirky and part of his game that the Indians didn’t appreciate, we welcomed.. and now Reds fans are doing the same thing.

    Secondly, if you have a 2nd baseman that’s “almost ready”, well, that’s not actually ready, is it? The Reds have finally started to build a solid foundation after dumping Dunn and Griffey, and our 2 time Golden Glove winner is a big block in that foundation. He missed a few games last year (with a broken finger) and people have the nerve to say he isn’t “serious”? And I can’t think of anything that he’s done that’s as dramatic as Votto’s weak mental meltdown.. And Bruce, I don’t know what’s getting bigger faster; his ego or his butt.

    Yet, both of these two get more face time than BP, who works harder.. you’d have to be a saint not to get a little ticked when they’re on the front of everything Reds related… Show a lil support for your team.

    • Dan

      First; why would you take your PROVEN star player and trade him at his height?

      JD, in my opinion, this is exactly when you SHOULD think about trading a guy. It feels perverse, I know, but this is when a player’s value is at its highest. “Buy low, sell high.”

      I’m not saying we SHOULD trade Brandon. I think he’s good. But I am saying I think it would be smart to consider it.

      B/c frankly, a year from now, when he’s making $11 million and has one year left on his contract, I think he’ll have practically no trade value at all.

      Oh, and also, dealing Brandon would only be smart if you have someone decent ready to step in. So, a deal like this would make sense in my book if we decide Frazier (or someone) is ready. If everyone else flops and we have no one but, say, Aaron Miles to be our everyday 2B… then that’s probably not good timing.

      But in general, yeah, I am ALL about “buy low, sell high.”

  18. Bill Lack

    Ethan, you’re not going to convince anyone of our point of view by quoting average and RBIs, these numbers just don’t mean that much by themselves (see the sabermetrics course that Steve talked about earlier). Yes, Phillips is a very good defensive player. But offensively, he’s not that much above average (I was going to look at how, but it seems MLB.com doesn’t give access to ’09 stats now?), if above it at all.

    His salary takes a large jump next year ($6.75 to $11M). If the Reds believe that Frazier is ready, then at some point they have to allow him to play to prove he’s ready. If they believe he is the 2B of the future, and that the return on Phillips is going to be high, then it’s a good time to trade him. Phillips MAY be worth $6.75, but there is no way he’s worth $11M.

    • david

      For telling the truth? Saying BP is immature? That’s a fact, and Fay isn’t the first beat writer to call him on it.

      Whether a person is immature, in this context, is always a matter of opinion. You might share the opinion, but that doesn’t make the statement factual. What you consider immature, another may consider jovial. Whether Fay should apologize depends on probably depends on whether Fay wants to gain exclusive access to Phillips in the future.

      Phillips MAY be worth $6.75, but there is no way he’s worth $11M.

      I completely disagree. Fangraphs measures his “value,” based on WAR, above $11 million in each of the last three seasons. In 2007, his value was $20.4 million. Last season his value was $14.5 million, which ranked him second among NL second baseman who qualify.

      Additionally, there is something to be said about being the “face.” From a purely economic standpoint, the draw Phillips has on casual fans is an additional value.

      While I understand your point i.e. buy low, sell high, this team will never be legit contenders if they constantly trade extremely good players in their peak years for prospects.

      • Chris Garber

        While I understand your point i.e. buy low, sell high, this team will never be legit contenders if they constantly trade extremely good players in their peak years for prospects.

        Ironically, the last time they contended (1999), it was in large part because they did just that. (Burba for Casey).

  19. CeeKeR

    While I agree that Phillips probably will be able to net some decent returns in a trade, at what point do the Reds become buyers instead of sellers? That’s my major beef with the team (and with some of the posters here too perhaps).

    The Reds seem to have a pitching nucleus ready for the big time in 2011 (we’ll call 2010 a “gain experience” year for the staff). We have some solid young players who should be in their prime next year (Votto & Bruce specifically). And, as of now, we have a gold glove caliber, though slightly erratic/selfish, second baseman anchoring the right side of the infield defense. Furthermore, we have one of the better (not best) hitting second basemen in the league (esp. when factoring speed in).

    If the Reds think Frazier can replace Phillips at a similar level, then sure, trade Phillips BUT SPEND THAT CASH on a different position to upgrade it. Don’t keep replacing the good (but somewhat pricy) parts with good (but cheaper) parts and pocket the savings. The Reds can’t possibly actually get better without upgrading their weaker positions. Right now, I think most people would agree that second base is not a primary concern with the Reds…unless trading Phillips allows the Reds to upgrade at a different position and Frazier plays at a Phillips-esque level, trading Phillips shouldn’t be something the Reds consider.

    • GregD

      While I agree that Phillips probably will be able to net some decent returns in a trade, at what point do the Reds become buyers instead of sellers? That’s my major beef with the team (and with some of the posters here too perhaps).

      The type of trade I was thinking of last year would have been a deal centered on Brandon Phillips and Matt Kemp. In that type of deal, I wouldn’t classify either team as the buyer or the seller.

      • david

        The type of trade I was thinking of last year would have been a deal centered on Brandon Phillips and Matt Kemp. In that type of deal, I wouldn’t classify either team as the buyer or the seller.

        I never saw a rumor of that kind of deal and it is HIGHLY doubtful the Dodgers would have ever traded Matt Kemp. He’s a younger better version of Phillips and plays CF which adds to his value. You trade Phillips, Votto, and more for Loney and Kemp then I think you might have something.

  20. RiverCity Redleg

    @david: I’m with you, for the most part. BP takes more bashing here than he should. Bottom line is that we are a better team with him than without him.
    However, like GregD says above, it depends on what we will receive back to truly asses if he should be traded. Without knowing the counterpart, it’s impossible to say he should or shouldn’t be traded.

  21. ClarkWGriswold

    Would you folks not agree that it is just as bush league for Fay to start writing that Phillips will be traded a day after Phillips refused his interview??? If this was on his mind, why was it not voiced until Fay had something to complain about??

  22. JD

    Dan, I totally get the “Buy low/Sell high” (I’m in finance, lol), but my point with Brandon, and the whole Reds franchise for the last twenty years actually, is; at what point do you retain solid, core, defining players? I can’t think of a single player on our young team (Rolen excluded) that’s going to be our A Rod or Jeter. Are we going to have an endless cycle of growing the young talent and trading them off when they reach a good value?

  23. al

    I asked this on a thread the other day and no one responded: do you really expect that the reds are going to trade phillips if he’s having a good year and the reds are winning?

    he has been a 3+ win player for three years running, and IS worth 11 mil by the numbers. he does a lot of things right with the fans and the media, as fay points out. if you think he gets traded if the season is going well, i have some real estate to sell you.

    john fay is a good reporter, but not on this day. this is a bs hit piece. phillips acted immaturely, sure, and guess how many people had to know about it. one. fay took it upon himself to use his position to bash someone to thousands of people. phillips doesn’t have the means to do that, it’s not a fair position to put him in.

    phillips will not be traded unless the reds implode. john fay owes him an appology.

    • Chad Dotson

      john fay owes him an appology.

      For telling the truth? Saying BP is immature? That’s a fact, and Fay isn’t the first beat writer to call him on it.

      I love you, al, and I usually agree with you. Not here, though.

      On the other hand, you’re probably right that BP won’t be traded IF he is having a good year and IF the Reds are winning. I’m not going to bet the ranch on both of those things happening in 2010, but I hope so! I’ll be very happy to have BP on this team.

      Heck, I’m not saying he SHOULD be traded. I get tired of his antics, but he produces enough to keep me happy. I’m just stating my opinion that I think he’ll be the first to go, if the Reds can get a decent return for him.

  24. GregD

    There was a period of time this morning where the link to the story disappeared, but if you searched on Phillips, it came up in search.

  25. Steve Price

    If Brandon Phillips wants to be the “face” of the franchise, as he has more or less said in the past is his desire, he needs to grow up. Plain and simple.

    If he wants to earn $11 mil to be a leader on this team, he needs to run out ground balls, not make lazy throws to first base, and not cry when he’s called on the carpet.

    I used to be a BIG fan…now, I’m having to explain to my kids why it’s not okay to play the way Brandon Phillips plays.

    Not a role model? Well, they sell to the kids all the time…they sign autographs for the kids. Phillips has a great smile, when he’s happy, he’s infectious. When he gets full of himself (as he did in previous major league locales) and sometimes here, he’s lost his since of direction.

    From a business standpoint, the Reds should have traded Phillips last year…as mentioned above, the closer the $11 mil contract gets, the less value he has. He and Cordero both should have been gone last year. The Reds have already found it difficult to move Cordero’s contract.

    As for the future…Frazier’s time is really now. If he’s going to play, he’s 24…it’s time to find out. Pete Rose and Johnny Bench were awarded starting jobs; so was Frank Robinson, and they were all 22 or younger.

    We need a young shortstop…

    • al

      If he wants to earn $11 mil to be a leader on this team, he needs to run out ground balls, not make lazy throws to first base, and not cry when he’s called on the carpet

      Ridiculous. Fay himself points out several times Brandon’s been called out, appologized, owned up to mistakes, and worked harder. What more do you want from a man?

      When I said Fay should appologize, it was because when Brandon had a problem with Fay, stupid and immature as it was, at least he went to John Fay. Fay in return took his beef, which I think is personal, to thousands of people.

      That’s just not how you’re supposed to handle problems, and I think a journalist should know better. You have to use the power of the press responsibly, because people can get really damaged by a single report, even if it isn’t true. I think Fay should have hashed this out with Brandon, not gone and “cried” to the public.

      • Chad Dotson

        Ridiculous.Fay himself points out several times Brandon’s been called out, appologized, owned up to mistakes, and worked harder.

        Actually, no, BP has been called out several times, only to apologize and go back to doing the same nonsense over and over again. I’m not sure how anyone could claim that he has worked harder and corrected these issues. He keeps doing the same things. His apologies are just lip-service.

        Again, though…I’m not saying BP should be traded because of this crap. Yeah, I’m tired of his act, but he still contributes (even if he doesn’t contribute as much as Joe Fan thinks he does.) BP isn’t near the top of the list of problems with this team.

  26. Plowboy

    Actually, Ken Broo had Fay on 700 WLW yesterday morning around 9 am, and he said all the same stuff live on air as he’d said in the article. That was the first I’d heard it.

    And, yeah, though I BP’s act has grown old with me, too, it still surprises me that he didn’t keep that to himself.

    Phillips is either really THAT big of a jerk, or Fay’s just become emboldened to speak because guys like C. Trent and Hal have commented as well.

    It’s all a bit strange no matter how you look at it because I was always figured the beat reporters tried to keep things as cool as possible with the guys.

    And this is the first week?

  27. TC

    I’m not a kid. I don’t need a role model. He’s not a saint. He’s not even working on a third miracle. But he is one hell of a ball player, and my favorite current Reds player. (Sadly my favorite player plays under the light, easy mist of Seattle.)

    Perhaps he will be traded, but I would really like to enjoy the rest of his time he is here without worrying about it.

  28. Matt WI

    I’m much more in the “let BP be” camp, but you really would think his agent(s) would work with him on this sort of thing a little more aggressively.

    Agent: Brandon, the first thing you want to say or do regarding the media is probably the wrong public relations thing. Wait and count to 10. Repeat. Let us do the hyping for you.

    Phillips: But I can go Forty/F….

    Agent: No buts, shut it.