By now, most of us have read or heard about ‘dat article written by Bob Nightengale (USA Today) that quotes Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto about their hitting approaches. The article highlights the contradictions and frames the parallel interviews as a debate.

But commentary about whether it is Votto or Phillips who is right about batting misses the larger point. Brandon Phillips was wrong, for another reason.

Forget about the breathtaking ignorance, inconsistencies and phony arguments throughout Phillips’ statements concerning basic baseball knowledge. As Dan Szymborski (ESPN) tweeted in reply: A baseball player criticizing OBP at this point is like a surgeon complaining about washing his hands.

Forget Phillips’ laughable claim that he doesn’t care what people think of him. Ask C. Trent Rosecrans about that. A profanity-filled direct message Redleg Nation received a couple years ago from DatCrude also suggests otherwise. The Reds second baseman is as thin-skinned as they come. Phillips conflates not caring what people think about him with not caring what he says about them. It’s a classic dish-it-out-can’t-take-it playground situation.

Forget that a journalist treated incoherent ramblings with the same deference as candid thoughtfulness, meanwhile taking his own shot at Votto with an (inapt) comparison to Hall of Famer Wade Boggs.

And try — as best you can — to put aside the looming possibility that Bryan Price could give the third most at bats to a player who doesn’t value getting on base.

Ignore all of that for now.

Rather, consider Brandon Phillips’ unbridled selfishness in attacking a teammate.

Last season was an injury-fueled disappointment for the Reds. The fallout has given the run-up to 2015 the feel of a last, but determined, gasp. The front office has allowed, rightfully, in my opinion, the core group of players that won the NL Central in 2010 and 2012 to make one final push together. Win or lose, expect next year’s team to be vastly different. With an assist from the departed Mat Latos, tattooed more ways than one yesterday, the Reds have been displaying a welcome us-against-the-world edge.

Then, two weeks from Opening Day, Brandon Phillips pops-off with this interview. Not only was it 100 percent self-serving, worse yet, it could foment division on the team. Here’s what Phillips said to a national audience about Reds players other than himself:

“I think people now are just worried about getting paid and worrying about on-base percentage instead of just winning the game.”

“I play the game to win. I don’t play the game for stats. I’m not talking about nobody else. I don’t penalize nobody. I don’t talk negative about nobody. I’m just talking about me. Maybe, I’m just different.” 

Does anyone believe Phillips isn’t criticizing Joey Votto?  In mentioning “getting paid” and Votto “eating real good,” Phillips vented long-simmering resentment about how much the Reds pay their first baseman. It’s the same issue that caused him to call his owner a liar. Twice. Transparent and phony denials notwithstanding, Phillips is plainly taking a shot at his teammate. One sentence follows the next. In English. Worried about getting paid instead of winning games. I’m different. Read that again.

(Look, we know he’s talking about Joey Votto because who else in close proximity worries about on-base percentage? Not the team that, without Votto, had the second-lowest walk-rate in the NL. Not the manager who bats Billy Hamilton first. Not the general manager who /list too long for the internet/. That’s Joseph Daniel Votto in Phillips crosshairs.)

What really stands out is how unusual Phillips’ behavior is. Are there other examples where players attack specific long-time teammates in the press? If so, I haven’t seen them.

Usually it’s just blogs like this that rile up fans for no good reason.

145 Responses

  1. droomac

    The best case scenario for the Reds this year is that BP does really well, decides he wants out of town, and waives his 10/5 rights. Send him to some team in the hunt that has an injured or subpar 2B and hope for something of some degree of value in return.

    This is exactly the kind of nonsense that creates an acrimonious environment on a team. If BP was truly and only concerned with winning, he would keep his trap shut and play baseball. What kind of positive development could come from saying such things to a reporter?

    • redmountain

      i will not defend him nor will I condemn him for his comments. He wants to win and has played when he is badly hurt, to his own detriment. Phillips has an old school view of things, Votto a new school. I won’t condemn them for that view. There are those in management and broadcasting who share Phillips’ view. They are allowed to have an opinion.

      • MrRed

        Agree with you that he is allowed to have his opinion (whether right or wrong) and to express it. But no matter what his opinion is, I don’t agree that he should express it in the form of attacking another teammate. That crosses the line, I think, in most people’s book.

        Why couldn’t he have just described his approach to the game without making references to other players being selfish? Even if he really believes that, in what way is it productive to say something like this to a national media outlet? By doing so, he makes it clear that he isn’t interested in working out any disagreement or misunderstandings with Votto. Rather, he prefers to attack him as being only concerned about his stats and implying that he is not a team player.

      • droomac

        They are certainly allowed to have an opinion. However, if BP truly wants to win, then he needs to shut his mouth because what he said does nothing but create unneeded drama. In this situation, one of three things is possible:

        1. He is malicious. He said what he said in an effort to irk Votto.
        2. He is stupid. He was unaware of how his comments (whether in or out of context) would be used by the press to stoke the coals of the RBI/OBP debate.
        3. He is impulsive and emotional. He said what he said because that’s what he believes and he could not control his mouth, despite the fact that he knew how his comments will be used by the press to stoke the coals of the RBI/OBP debate.

        Now, I tend to believe his comments were the result of impulse and emotion. The thing is, both BP and Votto strike me similar in that they are sensitive to criticism. I actually find it ironic that he would even say what he said, given how he has taken certain criticisms so seriously in the past.

      • Marvin

        I think it’s all of the above. Also, he contradicts himself seemingly every time he speaks. A few weeks ago he wasn’t a ballplayer-he was an entertainer. Now he only cares about winning. Not only is he horrible at the plate, he is as big of an egomaniac as there is in all sports. If the Reds can’t trade him, and are out of contention, I’d bench him anyway. Play him on AAAA Sundays, and still bat him 8th. If we can’t win on the field, I would consider taking BP down a notch as some form of win.

      • Jeremy Conley

        It’s ok to say that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but what Phillips expressed was not an opinion, it was nonsense.

        Exhibit A: “I think people now are just worried about getting paid and worrying about on-base percentage instead of just winning the game.”

        Exhibit B: “I don’t talk negative about nobody.”

        If you won’t condemn Phillips for thinking that making outs is good, at least you have to recognize that those two statements back to back are nonsense. You can’t come out and rip people for just playing to get paid, and then say you don’t talk negative about people.

        Sorry, you just can’t have it both ways.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Someone should inform Brandon that OBP is directly connected to winning. (although I’m pretty sure it’s not connected to being an entertainer, and that seems to be his preference, depending on the week).

  2. BigRedMachine

    And the reward for such behavior? Batting 3rd, behind Votto, catering to his ego.

  3. jdx19

    The worst part of it all is the fact that BP just makes things up and they get printed. Then, some percentage of readers will believe what BP said because, well, it’s on USA Today! It must be factual! Perhaps it was hyperbole, but the ‘ol .230 AVG .400 OBP guy that BP mentions as being “good” nowadays doesn’t exist. And if he did, I don’t think anyone would consider them good. Since 2010, the guy with the lowest AVG who also maintained a .400 OBP? Shin Soo-Choo in his one season with the Reds at .285!

    Sad times for BP. I wonder how many playoff teams have made the playoffs with their 3-spot in the linup pulling a sub-100 wRC+. I’m betting not many.

  4. vegastypo

    It reminds me of a sequence during a Reds-Pirates game two years ago. I had the Pirates radio announcers that day. Phillips was batting in front of Votto, and laid down a bunt to move a runner along. … One of the announcers, it might have been Steve Blass, made the comment along the lines of how the Reds were “having an RBI guy bunt to get to the on-base guy.” …

    That was two years ago. It goes on and on.

  5. Nathaniel

    One guy sounds like an intelligent man, the other, an immature high school jock….

    But I’m sure he eats pretty well too.

  6. Davis Stuns Goliath

    I liked BP much better when he didn’t talk to writers.

    For all of his “I play to win” bluster, you’d think someone would call him on the fact that in the 1469 games he’s played in his major league career, the teams he’s played for have gone a combined 738-731 (.502). Obviously, that’s a terrible way of measuring an individual player’s value, but the point is that his fingers aren’t exactly lined with rings, so he’s not much more of an authority on winning than I am.

    • Big56dog

      Feels as if he thinks these are the right things to say, that this might make him a better teammate when he has committed the ultimate sin of publically dissing a teammate. At least Latos knocked what he perceived as bad attitude after he is gone. BP foolishly attacks a MVP that most likely reads these quotes, what a horrible teammate

  7. Jeremy Conley

    And just to add salt to the wound, I’d bet Negron would have a better year at 2B if given the chance. Accountability? Not on this team.

    • lwblogger2

      I sincerely doubt that Negron would have a better year playing all season at 2B than BP will this year. I really like Negron but I find it unlikely that he’s an every-day MLB player based on his track record. I love him on the team and if he has to start for a spell while someone is out, I’m confident he could do it. I think he’d be seriously overexposed playing every day though. He could be the rare player that is better in MLB than MiLB but those guys are so rare that I just really don’t see it.

      • Big56dog

        I do not see BP getting above .260/.310 with 10+ HR- I could see Negron, BP outplays him defensively of course but almost wants to make you root against when he spews this nonsense; why cannot management see he is the bottom of the order guy especialy ih he just wants to win

      • Bill Lack

        I don’t mean to change the subject, but I don’t get all the love for Negron (and anyone that knows me, knows I don’t like BP at all). He’s a 29 year old guy with 163 ML PA. Can you say “sample size”? His minor league slash line is .246/.323/.36 in 3710 PA…which do you think will most likely be closer to his 2015 season number?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Love can be a relative term. Could I “love” Negron over Cozart? Possibly. Not exactly a huge reach there.

      • Big56dog

        Just see no way BP putting up better than Negron’s minor league numbers, not exactly Love thinking a 29 year old could peak a little late in his career and put up average numbers, I see an up trend with Negron and I see a down trend with Phillips. I am at a point with hearing BP’s nonsense that the team would be better off without him, I think Latos make the club better in comparison, so it is wishful thinking there are answers on the current roster to replace him

      • George Mirones

        It is the “Chris Heisey” effect, the bench guy is always better than the guy on the field. Last year after his initial 10-15 games pitchers started to work him over with breaking stuff. Many of his long hits were off fastballs that were over the plate so until he shows he can hit the breaking ball the pitchers just throw stuff that isn’t straight.

    • jessecuster44

      +1

      Accountability. Price needs to publicly rebuke BP and tell him to shut his piehole.

      • George Mirones

        Jesse as much as I want to agree with you I also know that in today’s world “confrontation” is not looked upon as a positive. I would bat him 8th opening day as a “message” that only the club house could appreciate.

      • Larry Padura

        Now THAT was not only very true but very funny!!

  8. lwblogger2

    I read it as a shot against other players in the game and not so much directly at Joey Votto. I can see how it could be interpreted as a shot against Votto though from Votto and from other readers. No matter rather it was or it wasn’t, comments like these are not conducive to a good clubhouse with good team chemistry.

    I really, really like BP. I mean I’m a big fan. He’s my 4th favorite Red and was my 3rd going into last season. Still, his manger needs to have a chat with him that goes something like this: “I don’t know if those comments were directed at Votto or not. I do know that they could certainly be interpreted as a shot against one of your teammates. You need to learn what you can say and can’t say to the press. Talk all you want about your approach but the comments about others’ approaches, rather you’re talking about Votto or not, are perceived as a fracture in the clubhouse. I can’t have that. As a result, I’m thinking of not starting you Opening Day. I’d like to start my All-Star second-baseman but these comments have left me little choice…. You got anything to say about it? Let it all out here and not the press.”

    • jdx19

      If Price did that, I’d be calling for an extension right now! Unforuntaly, I doubt it will happen.

    • reaganspad

      I am with you LW. I really like Phillips also and last year he was my 4th favorite as well.

      I was also thinking about benching him for opening day. I have been looking for who Negron is gonna Wally Pipp. Brandon would be perfect in my mind.

      Having him lose PT would be a huge motivator for him. He is brash. He is reckless offensively. He gets lopped into the skills are leaving him as a second baseman, but my eye loves to watch him make plays in the field. I do not see his skill going away yet because he makes plays still that I find it hard to believe others can make. That said, I only watch others play second base when they play the Reds.

      I liked his comments against the Cardinals a few years ago. Loved them. Since, I wish that he would just use the Bull Durham rehearsed quotes.

      I do appreciate that BP has had good seasons leading off, hitting 4th, but I do see him as a 7 hole hitter this year. Unless his OBP goes off the charts for him. 330 range.

      I will say that I have always thought of BP as a 2 hole hitter as I love the way he goes the other way. I understand the risk of the double play as he has gotten older and do not see him as a 2 hole hitter today.

    • RM

      Phillips is a tremendous defensive player. His last 2 years have not been good offensively. This article is extremely disturbing because, suddenly, the Reds may have an outstanding offense.
      I am pretty sure the Reds have tried to trade Phillips the last 2 years, but there are no takers because of his salary. My advice to Phillips is not to talk to writers, but play the game. Pete Rose, interviewed on last year’s last telecast basically said Phillips needs to “re-discover his game.”
      Right now, I would bat him 7th and get what you can out of him defensively.
      He is not the Brandon Phillips of 2 years ago.
      Votto, signs so far may be that he is returning to form. If so, he is one of the top 2 or 3 players, offensively in the game. If he hits 300 and cracks 25 or more homers, the Reds may be in the hunt. Here’s hoping one of the ?’s in the starting pitching comes through and the bullpen is at least decent in the 6th-8th innings. That will be the story of the 2015 Reds.

  9. jdx19

    Votto should use this as motivation to torch the league for a .330/.470/.600 line with 38 homers and 120 RBIs, just to shut BP up for good!

    Maybe that’s a bit hopeful, as that would be one of the best seasons of all-time outside Bonds/Ruth.

  10. unc reds fan

    There is only one way to deal with a Cancer on a team…that is to cut it off…I understand trading him without his consent isn’t doable, but how much would it really hurt us just to cut his big mouth and move on…the reds need a perfect season to contend…this is not part of that perfection

    • Big56dog

      My irration knee jerk reaction as well (and I see his value more than most)

    • lwblogger2

      It would hurt to the tune of the $39-million that the team owes him over the next 3 years. A team like the Reds needs that money to be on the field. It is what it is.

  11. ColoREDo

    Trade him and put Eugenio at 2nd. I don’t really care what we get in return for the trade.

  12. I-71_Exile

    I am not a BP fan and haven’t since that time when C. Trent revealed that BP’s real clubhouse demeanor was 180 degrees removed from his on-field persona. Seen in that light, I’m not surprised by any of the trash that slips out of his mouth. Sometimes the truth comes out. I would DFA him in a heartbeat. Besides saving face on this contract, there’s no reason to keep him around. He’s a replacement level player with a bad attitude.

    • jdx19

      He’s still above replacement level, projected for a not-so-beastly 1.9 WAR by ZiPS and Steamer. But, yeah, I agree with the rest of your sentiment.

  13. unc reds fan

    Again we cant just trade him, he pretty much has a no trade clause due to his 10/5 rights…he has to agree to any trade…it makes it harder…plus I am not sure how many clubs are interested in adding a cancer who is in the down spiral of his career…look at Terrell Owens…once his toxicity outweighed his talent nobody wanted him

  14. zaglamir

    The funny part is, BP will be “clairvoyant” in this, because JDV will be on base in front if him all year, so he can knock him in. He’ll be able to argue that he’s the RBI guy, only because he’ll be the only person in the lineup hitting with a man on in front of him 40% of the time.

    This is why I hoped so badly BP would be traded in 2013/14. Not because I’m tired of watching his gold glove (which is what highlights are for), but because I could sense back then that he wasn’t going to a) age well (2nd base) and b) be the type of “veteran leader” that his time on the team dictates he has a voice as.

    • Rod Mulford

      Didn’t Joey Votto Just call him a leader after Matt Latos comments. I think were all getting carried away here. Who are our two best hitters with RISP? You guesed it Votto and Phillips. GO REDS

      • MrRed

        You sure about that? And tell me why you think hitting with RISP is a repeatable skill. I’d rather have Mes, Frazier, Byrd, or Bruce at the plate with runners on than BP, especially at this point in his career.

  15. Janet

    Not surprising. Take one look at his Twitter page. He is narcissistic plain and simple

  16. ManuelT

    Another piece of evidence that the team has weak leadership. If they did, the Brandon Phillips show would have ended last year when he did the things he did. This year, Brandon is confirming that there is no leadership relevant enough to muzzle him. This team is a joke until a lot of stuff gets cleaned up. How many mental errors were committed last year? How much longer will the team hierarchy continue to BS us? Marquis being in the rotation is solid proof of the BS. Wonder what they will say when he inevitably gets lit up. He’s this year’s Schumaker. AND we still have last year’s Schumaker! What happened to managers who spoke their minds. Price is like a mannequin (or politician) who has nothing but good things to say about everyone and everything.

    • droomac

      After Baker was let go, Walt/Bob would have been much better off going the route of an external candidate with a track record of demanding respect from players. I would love to have a Buck Showalter-like manager with the Reds.

    • greenmtred

      We don’t know what Price says to these guys. Effective leaders don’t make their criticisms public. BP strikes me as overly impulsive and, if this is true, he should refrain from free-associating in public forums.. But he is still a remarkable defender and I have no doubt about his will to win. We’re making too much out of this, including being outraged because he considers himself an entertainer. Of course he’s an entertainer. So is Joey Votto. They play baseball, which is entertainment and nothing more.

      • Hotto4Votto

        If he wants to win so much, why doesn’t he try to get on base at a higher clip, cause, you know, that would help the Reds win more. Actions and words. His actions say that entertaining and getting paid are the driving forces of DatDude, not winning.

  17. sultanofswaff

    The legacy of Dusty Baker lives on. This is precisely the kind of worldview that he instilled in his players.

  18. redmountain

    Chemistry is nice but the Oakland A’s were not a good team chemically and they won some WS. Not all the players on the Big Red Machine liked each other either, Maybe we should be adults and not worry about it.

    • droomac

      The A’s of the late 1980s/early 1990s were actually a very good team, chemically speaking. Just ask Canseco/McGwire/Henderson.

      • ManuelT

        Good one. Seems like that stink seemed to follow LaRussa around.

      • Bill Lack

        I think he was talking about the A’s of the 1970’s.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Agree. This will have no effect on the success, or lack of it, for this team. The Yanks of the late ’70s were not a tight team either.

      • ManuelT

        Big talent can sometimes overcome big stuff:

        C-Thurman Munson
        1B- Chris Chambliss
        2B- Willie Randolph
        SS- Bucky Dent
        3B- Graig Nettles
        OF- Reggie Jackson
        OF- Lou Piniella
        OF- Mickey Rivers

        You sure you want to be comparing our Reds to the As and Yankees of the 70s?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Yeah, in as much as it will effect the team’s record – good or bad.

    • ManuelT

      But didn’t those two teams keep their drama more or less internal. Was there any parallel for what Phillips just did?

      • MrRed

        Bingo! These aren’t comparable situations. The 70’s A’s and Yanks didn’t have their dirty laundry aired in public. We largely only learned about what happened after the fact. In today’s day and age, players get immediate platforms to spout off and very little gets left behind closed doors. They’re both pros, yes, but they are certainly human and are sensitive to criticism. I can’t believe that hearing this b.s. from a teammate speaking to the media is not going to have a negative impact on the team and attitudes in the clubhouse. If the team hits some rough patches on the field (seems likely they will this year), it’s a lot easier to see things going downhill fast rather than having them pull out of it when players are at odds with each other.

      • WVRedlegs

        I seem to remember the Yanks’ Reggie Jackson and manager Billy Martin airing several loads of Yankee laundry right there in the dugout in plain sight.
        Laundry day was often tough on Martin. I think he got a black eye on one laundry day.

      • Rod Mulford

        Uh your wrong. Reggie Jackson….I’m the straw that stirs the drink. Read your history. Brandon is mild compared to Reggie.

      • MrRed

        Still not the point. Read what I’m saying and actually give it some thought. Reggie and his team were way more talented than BP and this version of the Reds. Talent trumps. If you think this year’s team is going to stay in the hunt with as many question marks as they have, then they’re going to need to pull in the same direction. What I see here is something deeper than two guys getting ticked at each other and coming to fisticuffs. BP seems to have a deep sense of insecurity and bitterness that is manifesting itself with his open displays of disrespect to the team’s best player and its owner. That’s not an easy issue to get around.

    • jdx19

      Here’s my canned reply to this kind of comment:

      This is March. This is a baseball blog. We have to talk about something.

      Talking about a relevant story involving two of the Reds best players does not seem childish to me.

  19. WVRedlegs

    Anybody else hearing the Reds and RedSox are talking about utility player Brock Holt and a Reds pitcher?

  20. tct

    Isn’t this the same guy who had his agent file an appeal a few years ago about an official scorers ruling on a blooper he hit down the line that the outfielder dove for and missed allowing BP to come all the way around? It was scored as a double plus a two base error and BP wanted an inside the park homer. And isn’t this the same guy who’s obsessed with RBI? But he doesn’t care about stats.

    And didn’t he get a contract back in 2012 that guaranteed him over 60 million dollars, but then proceed to whine and complain about how much more Votto got? He is still jealous of the Votto contract to this day. But he doesn’t care about money.

    All he cares about is winning, right? That’s why he is criticizing a teammate in the media. A teammate who has done more to help the franchise win over the last five years than anybody.

    Truth is, BP doesn’t care about stats that make him look bad. He doesn’t care about money as long as he’s making more of it than all his teammates. And he cares about winning as long as he is the star.

    • jdx19

      Bingo.

      I was a big Juan Gonzalez fan as a kid and there was a time when he was trying to break Hack Wilson’s RBI record that he stared down the official scorer from 2nd base and pointed at his eyes, then at the scorer in the booth. This stemmed from the fact that the scorer ruled a hit in a game a few days earlier as an error, this removing an RBI from Gonzalez total. He had 102 RBI at the all-star break. Talk about a weird year.

      • greenmtred

        I imagine that all players care about and are aware of their personal stats.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Your last three sentences are the truth of the matter. /thread

  21. streamer88

    This angers me and I’m not even on the team. His blatant lack of understanding of offensive value and production will prevent some of his remarks from penetrating and upsetting team members BUT, when he says “I play the game to win…. Maybe I’m different” what he is implying is that others on the team are not playing to win (read: Votto). That implication is what starts fist fights. It’s like calling a hockey player “soft.” Baseball is the most individual of team sports but implying someone cares more about themselves than the team is fighting words. I’m aware of Dat Dude’s contract obligation, but I’d like to think that Wharton of all places (and life experience as a conglomerate chairman) would’ve taught Castellini the importance of team dynamic. Teammates mustn’t like each other, they can even resent each other. But they canNOT distrust each other. 10/5 is hard to get around – but he has to figure something out. Through all the BS I respected BP as a player and teammate. Until now.

    BroCode rule #1 has been violated here, shameful.

  22. ManuelT

    I’ve supported Phillips often in the past but he just went too far. If they can get rid of him for a free cup of coffee, they should take the deal.

  23. lwblogger2

    Marlins have released former Red Donnie Joseph. Wonder if he would come back to play at AAA?

    • WVRedlegs

      LH and only 27. It might be worth a flier. The dude issues a lot of BB’s. Too many. Good K rate though.

  24. Mike DGJ

    I would like to say this as plainly and clearly as possible.

    The Reds would be a better team with Negron at second base instead of BP.

    Not use by how much but I’d wager 5 wins. That’s a guess. The first statement, is a fact.

    • lwblogger2

      BP is being an idiot but I just don’t see how a guy with Negron’s track record in the minors is going to be a better everyday player in the Majors than even a declining Phillips. I like Negron but his ceiling to me is as a utility player. Like JDX19 says above, I gotta see him do what he’s been doing over a longer sample to start to think he’s got a good shot at being a decent everyday player on the highest level of baseball.

    • jdx19

      You can’t say something is a fact with no way at all to back it up. Five wins? Really? How?

      • Mike DGJ

        If you want to go by strictly numbers and history well okay I guess you can say BP is the better player but when you take into account projected stats, where BP is still the better player, you see the difference isn’t too different.

        My point is all about club house moral. If you think talent strictly wins then you are sorely mistaken. Getting rid of BP would make everyone better because of moral. Period. Now I’m a big bele in moral and phycology so if ur not then okay I get it but in baseball U should be imo.
        Why 5 wins? Well no Negron isn’t going to be worth 5 WAR but if u add up all the WAR on A team U don’t get to the amount of wins a team has. I didn’t day 5 war better I meant what I daid, having Negron will mean a 5 win team better. Addition by subtraction.

  25. Art Wayne Austin

    My sincere belief is Brandon mouths off because it sells ticket. Pro wrestlers mouth off for the same reason.

    • WVRedlegs

      BP’s new walkup music for this year, “OBP thang ain’t nothin but a geek thang”.

  26. w_c_hughes

    Got his money and then stopped caring. Shouldn’t of resigned him. Let him be someone else’s 33 year old distraction.

  27. w_c_hughes

    This isn’t even to mention that the RBI is the one of the most useless stats in all of baseball…

    It scares me to think that a Major Leaguer actually feels that OBP is overrated.

    • lwblogger2

      That thinking is probably pretty prevalent. The game, to most players, is all about scoring them or knocking them in. Some players recognize that getting on base is the most important aspect of scoring runs but not all of them do. I’d wager that all players would rather get a hit than a walk. A walk is something you settle for, not something you strive for.

      • greenmtred

        I think that most players probably realize that the team that scores the most runs wins, and that winning usually leads to bigger pay days (accountability, for those who obsess about it). Is it obvious that having runners on base enhances the likelihood of scoring? Of course. Is it obvious that a base runner must score to help the team win? One would hope so.

    • ManuelT

      He thinks OBP is overrated because it’s something he’s not good at.

      • w_c_hughes

        Exactly! Definition of delusional.

  28. Jeff From Ohio (@JeffFromOhio)

    What also needs to be mentioned is that he said “guys are worried too much about getting paid”…..and he said it 18 months after calling his 72-million-dollar contract a “slap in the face”.

    • jdx19

      Castellini should tell Phillips, publically, “I’ll give you $200 million if you bat .290 with a .380 OBP and slug .400 or higher.” Public embarrassment is powerful!

      • hammer

        I’d tell him he has to score 100 runs. See if he can figure out the connection, or see if he tries to hit 100 home runs…

  29. gaffer

    Brandon being Brandon, does anyone think that his behavior affects the leaders on this team anymore? How can BP be the ONLY person in the world that thinks he is underpayed. He guilted Bob into a massive overpay and he has the gall to say he deserved more!

    The most ridiculous thing is saying that Votto plays for the money. HE ALREADY GOT PAID! He could sit for the next 8 years and STILL GET PAID! He is not getting another contract so he has no need to play any particular way.

    Brandon saying he plays for himself is the most accurate thing he has ever said.

  30. WVRedlegs

    Two teams that are in need of a veteran second baseman, Toronto and LA Angels.
    Anaheim might be a good fit for BP.
    BP and Mickey Mouse & Goofy could be a match made in heaven.

  31. WVRedlegs

    Two teams in need of a veteran second baseman, Toronto and LA Angels.
    BP and Anaheim might be a good fit.
    BP and Mickey Mouse & Goofy are a match made in heaven.

    • Hotto4Votto

      plus, LA is probably the most pretentious city in the world….BP and LA have that going for them. Hell, he may even get to date a Kardashian….match made in heaven.

  32. Jeremy Conley

    More and more layers of Phillips craziness keep coming to me the more I think about it.

    Think about this he basically accuses Votto of taking walks to get paid, rather than playing to win the game. Baked into that crazycake is the idea that teams pay people for walks!

    Remember Moneyball? Where the entire premise of the book was that the A’s found things (like walks) that were undervalued in the game, so they could get them cheap. When did every team in the game do a complete 180? Yeah, no one gives contracts for batting average, HR, and RBI anymore, so true, so true.

    That must be why Giancarlo Stanton just got the biggest contract in baseball history ($325 million), all of his walks.

    • Jeremy Conley

      It wasn’t that long ago that taking a walk was considered being unselfish, and swinging at bad pitches to pump up your own RBI stats was considered selfish.

      I remember people saying that about about Larkin when I was growing up. He was praised for taking a walk when pitchers didn’t give him anything to hit, rather than trying to be the hero. He had confidence in his teammates, and it was considered a team move.

      You would only swing at bad pitches to try to drive a run in if you had no faith in your teammates to get the job done, which is a pretty selfish, narcissistic view, considering that they are all major league hitters. .

  33. jdx19

    To all the RLN editors/writers:

    Thanks for giving us fans a place to hash out all this nonsense! I’d be posting crazy stuff on Facebook, most likely, without this outlet. Much appreciated!

  34. Tom Reed

    Phillips, overall, has been a sparkplug for the Reds, but it’s time for him to go. The manager and the GM should sit down with him and ascertain which team(s) BP will accept a trade to, and then they should make it happen even if it’s similar to the Latos trade where equal value probably was not obtained. Underlining dissension between two regulars is not going to work out well. If Phillips will not agree to a trade, then he should hit 7th. and Negron should fill in at second whenever possible. Then BP might change his tune regarding accepting a trade.

  35. old-school

    What’s the over/under this year on this first inning scenario.
    Billy Hamilton strikes out. Votto walks. DDBP 6-4-3….inning over, we head to the second.
    I’ll start it at 8 games.

    • HerpyDerp

      It happened well over 8 times in 2013 with Choo leading off with a walk and a BP DP.

  36. Jeremy Conley

    I would give Phillips away at this point. Just put him on waivers to see if someone will take him. Maybe we’ll get lucky. I’m pretty sure the Reds would be better off with the money.

  37. Redgoggles

    Your walk talks more than your talk talks, Brandon. Maybe we should be glad he doesn’t talk to the local media?

  38. Hotto4Votto

    Man, how I wish Brandon was traded last offseason.

    • jessecuster44

      He should have been traded to the Yankees two years ago, after they lost Cano.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Agreed, but from what I recollect, he was trying to “get paid” more from the Yankees than his contract was structured for. Apparently that was what put the kibosh on the whole thing. Could just be speculative though. But I read it in a few places.

  39. Kevin J. Brown

    I don’t care what players say, only what they do. BP remains the best defensive 2B in baseball (the best I’ve ever seen in 50 years watching MLB) and his offensive production is still a little above average for a 2B. He remains a useful asset and besides he’s untradeable given his age and contract situation.

    He’s our 2B for a couple more years at least. I’ll be rooting for him even if he does say some dumb things sometimes.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Phillips was still a top ten defensive second baseman last year. But you won’t find a single measuring stick – from old school to new school – that validates that he “remains the best” in baseball. Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia and DJ LeMahieu were all judged better by people who watched every play of every game.

      • Kevin J. Brown

        Please. If he hadn’t missed 40 games, he would have won another GG.

        What “people” were those?

      • Steve Mancuso

        Maybe. Maybe not. Two of the guys I mentioned as rating better the BP play in the American League. So even conceding that the GG always goes to the best player, if Phillips would have won the NL GG it wouldn’t prove he was the best defensive 2B in baseball.

        The people I referred to are the ones who work on the various advanced defensive metrics. They watch every play of every game multiple times to measure range, reasonableness of chance etc. They quantify the performance of every player based on every play they attempt. The defensive metrics aren’t perfect, but they’ve come a long way. And they don’t disagree about the notion that Phillips is no longer the best 2B in baseball.

        How many games did you watch LeMahieu play last year? Or Pedroia?

      • Kevin J. Brown

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-positional-power-rankings-second-base/

        Looking at the projected fielding component, Fangraphs has BP higher than LeMahieu, equal to Kinsler (though Kinsler is projected to get more playing time which effects the FLD number) and inferior only to Pedroia.

        I haven’t watched Pedroia much over the last few years but find it hard to believe based on what I saw even in his earlier years that he consistently makes plays that BP does. But if you insist, I’ll settle for claiming that BP is still the best fielding 2B in the NL.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Glad you found (and trust) those projections. Hope you checked the Jason Marquis page while you were there.

      • Kevin J. Brown

        It’s a bit easier doing fielding projections than pitching ones.

      • jdx19

        A single measure usually isn’t the best way to show someone is “the best” at any given thing. If you look at most commonly accepted fielding measures, including DRS, UZR, and sure, Fld, then I don’t think you’d have an easy time convincing anyone that Phillips is clearly the best. Yes, he’s very good, albeit declining, but probably not clearly the best.

  40. dandobrando

    “I don’t play the game for stats,” said the ever humble Brandon Phillips? Really? How many times, during the 2013 season, did we hear about Brandon’s personal quest to drive in 100 runs in a season (he finished the year with 103)? And if he didn’t care about stats, why did Dusty Baker sit him for the last game in 2011? Phillips sat out the game so ‘Mr. Don’t Care’ could preserve his .300 average for the year. Why didn’t Brandon do what Albert Pujols did under the same circumstance? Pujols had compiled ten consecutive +.300 seasons since his major league career began, and before the last game of 2011, he was sitting on .300. Tony LaRussa asked him if he wanted to sit out the game (to preserve his .300 average). Pujols, a Hall-of-Famer and class act, said “No”. He played and ended the season at .299. For Albert, the game was more important than his stats.

    This recent volley from Phillips wasn’t his first against Votto. Phillips has publicly called the Reds owner a liar, cursed a reporter, whined about how much he’s paid, and dissed the fans by not coming to the 2013 Redsfest. You can’t tell me the other players don’t notice the coddling of Phillips, who will say what he wants, when he wants to whoever he wants. Other teams have dealt players whose actions became a malignancy in the clubhouse and to the organization. Trade Brandon Phillips while he still has decent return value, and before his next inevitable outburst. (And if Phillips does leave the team, you’ll see the real Brandon Phillips revealed. He won’t hold anything back. He never does….)

    • Grand Salami

      Great historical point. I recall that Dusty and the respective players were chasing a couple milestones being the 100 RBI mark for BP and the 200 IP mark for Bronson. On the 700 WLW DatdudeBP segment he talked about a desire to get that mark extensively.

    • jdx19

      Spot on. The fact that he says he doesn’t care about stats is laughable. He’s also mentioned in the past that he’s a 30-30 guy from his Cleveland days. I think that is a more impressive accomplishment than 100 RBI anyday.

    • w_c_hughes

      Steady Johnny! Our one constant!

  41. big5ed

    They ought to hit him 8th, just to induce him into waiving his 10-5 rights. Then trade him to whoever agrees to take on the most of his salary. As I said when they extended him, the Reds would regret it: “Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” They are well past that point now.

    Phillips just isn’t as good defensively now as he was 2 years ago, and not even close to what he was 4-5 years ago. (Pokey Reese was the best defensive infielder I ever saw here.) And, God, is Phillips slow; when the catcher is faster than you are, it’s time to give it up.

    • jdx19

      Was Pokey really that good? I don’t recall a lot about him, but BP in his prime was about as good as a fielder can be, IMO.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Pokey could really pick it and BP deserves a good beat down but I can’t vouch for that claim.

        As far as Reds 2nd baseman since 1970, I’d go: BP, Morgan, Reese. Reese probably had better range and arm, Joe was just money in that he made virtually every play he could get too and could turn a DP with the best of them. BP makes, or has made, plays that few if any 2B ever made. A poor man’s Ozzie Smith, at a different position, but that is still one heck of a compliment to his skills.

  42. desertred

    Surely, there is someone as equally overpaid as BP that the Reds could trade for — a long reliever, third-string catcher, washed up outfielder. Anything to get rid of the cancer.

  43. Kyle Farmer

    As strange as this is to write, I actually felt sorry for Brandon as I read this article. Here’s a guy who is so insecure, so jealous, and so out of touch with his own profession that he simply cannot control what comes out of his mouth. It’s sad and maybe even pathetic.

    I, personally, think it’s not good for the Reds to have a person like BP in the clubhouse – ot that there’s much they can do about it at this point. However, I do wonder what some of the folks who might believe that clubhouse chemistry either doesn’t exist or has no effect on team performance think about the effect of Brandon’s comments.

    • Kyle Farmer

      And, as an aside, I think this article is the final straw that leads me to predict that Joey Votto will win the NL MVP this year. I think he’s about to have a monster year and enjoy every second of rubbing it in the faces of people who have questioned his approach and toughness for the last year.

      • Tom Reed

        I think clubhouse chemistry is a team factor over the long run. And it doesn’t mean everybody has to like each other in a social sense. Marlon Byrd, who I’m sure would like to stay around MLB for a couple more years, could be the added jolt the Reds offense needs. And I agree that Votto, with his shaved head look, is going to have a monster year.

    • Robby20

      Reds are stuck with him. They tried to get rid of him after the 2013 season. There were no takers then and there are certainly no takers now. He’s never been good for team chemistry. He’s a “me” first player. That is easier to take when a player contributes but when the player no longer carries his weight at the plate that “me” first approach is more harmful.

  44. jdx19

    A comment a bit further above got me curious about BP with RISP. Since we all know that is his self-stated specialty, at least lately, I wondered what the numbers look like.

    So, ignoring 2002, 2004, and 2005 since he had about 20 ABs combined with RISP, I took 2003 and 2006-2014 and looked at this stats with RISP. Here they are, compared to his career:

    .285/.347/.431 2003,2006-2014: 1413 ABs, RISP
    .271/.319/.424 Career, all ABs

    Even though I don’t prescribe to the notion of hitting better with RISP being a trait certain players have, there is no denying over his career he has hit slightly better with RISP. Although, I would suspect 0.014 points of AVG and 0.007 points of slugging are in the noise. Nothing to see here!

    Interesting, though, is the fact that his AVG-OBP differential is larger with RISP than in other situations. This means he actually walks more with RISP than he does without RISP. The data set I was looking at didn’t differentiate between BB and IBB, so this may actually be the explanation. The ‘ol IBB to set up a double play with 1st base open and a guy on 2nd or 3rd.

    • Jeremy Conley

      The thing I never understand about just looking at RISP, is what about all the times a batter comes up with a guy on first? If Phillips is better with RISP, the flip side of that is that he’s worse with guys on first.

      If Phillips hitting better with RISP is a choice, and not just random variation, what does it say that he doesn’t choose to do that when there are guys on first?

      • jdx19

        I agree with you. I’m not advocating for any sort of special treatment of RISP. Basically, I’m at work and didn’t have time to do anything more rigourous between meetings! 🙂 But yeah, if a player is better with RISP, I believe he is actively choosing to do less than his best in other situations.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Just like Pete Rose?? Overall stats: .303/.375/.409. People react differently to higher stress situations. Now we are sacrificing the Roses & Clementes at the alter of hating on BP??

      • Jeremy Conley

        Yes, I guess I am. Not to the alter of hating BP, but to the logic of praising clutch hitting.

        We should praise good hitting. If a guy is good, he’s good, and that should be praised. Rose and Clemente were far more than good, they were great, and deserve lots of praise.

        But when you start comparing a guy to himself in other situations, the logic goes out the window. It’s somehow good that Pete Rose couldn’t focus with nobody on? Because isn’t that basically what you’re saying by saying “people react differently to higher stress situations?” Coming up with nobody on happens a lot, if a guy can’t give me his best effort then, that seems worth critiquing, just as much if not more than a guy who hits worse with RISP than in other situations.

        Take Rose for example again, he had 3511 plate appearances with RISP (OPS .841), and 10,242 plate appearances with nobody on (OPS .753). Obviously, it would have been WAY better if he had those reversed. If you’re saying he did that in some way intentionally, then that seems like a huge problem. His career OPS was .784, and if those two numbers had been reversed it would have been .821, and he would have been a far superior hitter.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Jeremy

        My disagreement was this line:
        “But yeah, if a player is better with RISP, I believe he is actively choosing to do less than his best in other situations.”

        It’s just life, I’m sure there are people that always give “100%” at work but they are likely few and far between. Heck, some days I even phone it in. We’re just humans not machines. Do I “choose” to do less than my best? Na, not really but it happens. When JV forgets how many outs there are, is really consciously doing less than his very best? Doubtful.

        My point is that BP is subject to a pretty good witch hunt at the moment. He deserves it but I don’t want to throw everybody else in there with him. I apologize if my point wasn’t clear.

      • Jeremy Conley

        Charlotte:

        Yeah, I hear you, I don’t think any of this clutch hitting stuff is a player choosing to do better or worse in different situations. I think it’s mostly random variation, and maybe some involuntary stuff.

        I just think it’s silly to compare a player against himself and say that because he was better here than there, he’s got real grit or clutchiness or whatever guys who “play the game right” have. Comparing a guy to himself doesn’t show anything meaningful if you don’t believe he’s doing any of it on purpose.

        So why not just compare players to other players overall and praise those that have done better than their competition. In the current case, that could be Votto vs. BP, and Votto is clearly the superior hitter and it’s not even close.

      • charlottencredsfan

        We are 100% in agreement.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Huh?? In Phillips case you would be correct but the way I read your statement that it is a general truth: “If Phillips is better with RISP, the flip side of that is that he’s worse with guys on first.” You know this is factually wrong, don’t you?

        Pete Rose with RISP: .311/.420/.421/.821
        Pete Rose with runner at 1st base: .327/.385/.459/.844

        Hey guys, I believe BP deserves all he’s got coming to him but let’s not sacrifice objective thinking just to dig the knife in further.

        We might all agree that he is not the greatest person in the world and his sell-by-date has expired but he has done a lot of good for the city and team through the years. I’m aboard with just wanting to let him out of the car somewhere in northern Canada but let us not go overboard.

      • Jeremy Conley

        Ok, I was speaking generally. What I should have said is, if a guy is better at hitting with RISP (men on second and or third) than he is generally, there’s a good chance he’s worse with men on first than he is with RISP. If somehow he is better with RISP than in general, and better with men on first than he is with RISP, then he must be WAY worse with nobody on, as was the case with Rose.

        The point is, you can’t be better at everything. If you’re better at something, you’re worse at something else, right? I don’t understand praising someone for being better with RISP than they are in other situations, because if they really are doing it on purpose, couldn’t you just as easily criticize them for not giving it their all in other situations?

        If people get on someone for not legging out a grounder, why do we praise people for caring more with guys on base? As multi-millionaire athlete/entertainers taking our money, shouldn’t they give their best effort all the time? That’s the argument that’s given for things like legging out grounders, which clearly has a lot less impact on the game than caring during all at bats with no runners on.

        For Pete Rose, his OPS with men on first was .844, and with men on third was .999. But his OPS with men on second was only .805. Now to me, that’s all just random variation, but if one was going to praise Rose and say, “look how awesome Rose was with guys on third, he always hit in the clutch,” why not also criticize him for not hitting with guys on second? What did he not care enough? Was that not a clutchy enough situation?

      • Steve Mancuso

        Yes, this is what the people on the BP side of the debate don’t seem to get.

        From a *team* standpoint, it’s just as important what a hitter does when there are no runners on base as it is with runners on base. Getting on base is the way teams score runs. If a hitter just mails it in, like Phillips implies he does, when no one is on base, he’s hurting his team’s ability to score runs (himself).

        This seems so simple of a concept to grasp, but this is treated as a “debate” for some reason.

      • charlottencredsfan

        “couldn’t you just as easily criticize them for not giving it their all in other situations?”

        I’m too cynical to think that many folks give it their all, all the time. Concentration can be a difficult thing at times. Your wife or child dies, you loose your job, etc. Heck you’re just plain tired. Very, very hard to meet that mark.

        By the way, I’m not big on clutch hitting as a repeatable skill. As Mancuso says, there are cases but rare.

        I also imagine with no runners on with two outs in a blow out, more than a few guys just swing for the fences. That probably could hurt certain stats, I would expect all other things being equal that a contact hitter would have a better batting average, with the infield playing in, than an all or nothing power hitter. I would expect most LH hitters to have a better batting average than a RH with a man on first and not on second base. It can get real complicated. Advanced statistics get us closer than anything else but the still don’t get you all the way there. It will be a longer formula the E=MC squared if it is ever fully figured out.

        Real interesting stats for Votto:

        Lifetime: .310/.417/.533/.950
        Lifetime RISP: .344/.477/.578/1.054

        Maybe we could tell BP that Joey cares more because of this fact? Using his measure, what could he say?

        By the way, this is one of the greatest differentials between all ABs and those with RISP. Just something to chew on.

  45. Sparky

    A little late on this one but gonna shout anyway. BP is BP, I don’t know why some fans get riled up and surprised when he does this. He is not a deep thinking guy, more on the emotional side. Shake this team up BP! This team has shown a lack of fire recently and every time a player (former or current) calls it out, a lot of fans get offended. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt baby! I sure hope this team comes out with a chip on its shoulder and a bit of inner conflict. Some of these guys need to be called out and offended.

  46. Greg Dafler

    Phillips, the Brennamans, and Daughtery must have spent the offseason together. Why do these guys (and other) so often say that OBP = walks?

    Votto has a career batting avg of .310 and career slugging of .533. The only two seasons he didn’t bat .300 was 2008 (.297) and last year’s injury-filled season.

    • Matt WI

      They’re like the Stone Cutter’s from the Simpsons! It really is like they’ve conspired to crush Joey Votto, OBP, and all who stand in their way.

  47. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Why is anyone even listening to BP for offensive information? He’s the guy to look at for defense. He’s one of the last ones to look at on this team for offense information. Yes, he is a member of the 30-30 club. But, he just doesn’t have that kind of prowess anymore.

    As for Votto, I will never say a walk is better than any kind of hit. It is better than an out. However, when pitchers are throwing balls early right down the middle and you are letting them go simply because you like to take a lot of pitches, other pitchers are going to read that and jump all over it. I mean, seriously, so many people including me has said he’s the best hitter we have. Then, I’m thinking, hit the ball. If there is a player on base, Votto would be our best chance at driving in a run, not the player behind him.

    I will take a 2013-type of season from Votto, most definitely, over last season. However, I believe this team needs a 2010-type of season from Votto. And, really, even before that, we need better hitting and OBP from the entire rest of the team.