We now know that Brandon Phillips vetoed not one, but two separate trades so far this off season. We also know that the Reds organization is being very frank about why the trades didn’t go through – he wants more money. That’s what we know for absolute certain. We can certainly infer from that the Reds want someone else (Jose Peraza) at second base this season but that Phillips is blocking him.
Here are some other facts for you. Brandon Phillips is about to enter his age-35 season and last year he defied father time to post 2.6 WAR. How many second basemen have had seasons of at least 2.6 WAR from age-35 on? Not many. Since 1950, here is the complete list: Randy Velarde, Joe Morgan, Cahse Utley, Lou Whitaker, Frank White, Jeff Kent, Toby Harrah, Willie Randolph, Bobby Grich, Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grudzielanke, Craig Biggio, and Marco Scutaro. That’s all. Since 1950.
The point here is that Phillips is unlikely to ever have trade value as high as he has it right now. And the Reds still can’t get rid of him because of his 10/5 rights. Further, let’s assume they aren’t going to re-sign Phillips and are unlikely to have a competitive team before his contract expires at the end of the 2017 season. Both safe assumptions, I think.
So, the Reds have a player they don’t and can’t trade who will be gone before they have a chance of being good again. This, my friends, is called sunk cost. You know what you do with sunk cost? Let it sink.
If I am the Reds, I sit Brandon Phillips down and have a talk with him. I give him three options: 1. Accept a trade to a team that has a chance to contend. 2. Be prepared to sit on the bench while Peraza is broken in and be happy about it. 3. Get cut.
I know people are going to lose their minds about that last one, but consider the alternatives the Reds have. If they really want Peraza out there, they should put him out there. He’s part of the future and Phillips isn’t. Further, having a grumpy Phillips on the bench isn’t going to be good for a young team. And finally, they need to do everything they can to coerce him to accept a trade.
Because, let’s face it, Phillips is unlikely to be a happy bench player and he would likely be offended by the indignity of being cut loose. If you were him, what would you choose? His contract is sunk cost and the sooner the Reds realize this and treat it as such, the sooner they can move on.