National reporters seem to agree that the Reds and Nationals have worked out a deal to trade Brandon Phillips to Washington. But the Reds second baseman has earned the right to reject any trade, so it falls to the Reds to persuade BP to sign off on the agreement. It appears there’s been no movement today on those negotiations. But there are three inaccurate narratives developing in the national media:
Narrative: Phillips should expect more money from the Reds because he gave the team a hometown discount on his 4-year, $72 million deal (Nightengale, ESPN)
Reality: There was no hometown discount. Here’s what Phillips said about the deal at the time: “Phillips often says how much he loves playing in Cincinnati. That, however, doesn’t mean he’ll accept a hometown discount. ‘It’s a business. This is my last contract. There’s no homeboy hookup. That ain’t going to work. I want to be paid what I’m worth.'”
Narrative: If the Reds don’t “dramatically” improve their offer, there won’t be a deal (Bowden, ESPN)
Reality: Either side could produce a deal by changing their position. It’s not fair to frame the issue placing the blame on the Reds. Phillips could soften his stance and he’d be a Washington National faster than you could tweet DatDudDC.
Narrative: Phillips won’t agree to a trade because he loves Cincinnati.
Reality: If that were the case, nothing the Reds could offer him would matter. Negotiations would be over. Rest assured, this is about money to Phillips. He may have a preference for staying in Cincinnati, but it’s nothing that wouldn’t be overcome by showing him the money. Nothing at all wrong with that. But please let’s not hear about how much he loves Cincinnati if this falls through.
There’s a lot of lingering animosity between Phillips and the Reds that dates back to his perception that the club lied to him during negotiations over his contract.
You’ve got to love the standoffs between billionaires and a multi-millionaire professional athletes.