Mark Sheldon talked with Brandon Phillips about next season:

Last winter, Phillips used his no-trade rights to block being dealt to the Nationals. Was he expecting the Reds to revisit moving him and does he want to be dealt?

“I haven’t really thought about it,” Phillips said. “That one thing that’s not really on my mind. I’m just trying to finish the season strong and whatever happens, happens. I can’t really control what’s going on, what the Reds want or what I want. All I know is I want to finish strong for this team. I’m still a Red. I’m happy. I still have another year on my contract and I’m happy with that. You never know what the future really holds. Just look at the present and enjoy it while you can.”

I dunno, that quote makes me kinda optimistic. Sounds like BP might be more receptive to a trade this off-season. It’s difficult to believe that there will be much of a market for a 36-year-old second baseman whose defense has fallen off a cliff (this is his worst defensive season in a decade) and who is barely above replacement level. But Phillips has certainly hit well in the second half (after we all gave him up for dead), so maybe there’s some trade value there.

I think we’re going to learn a lot about how the Reds are approaching this rebuilding process by what they do with Phillips over the coming months. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again…but if Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart are the starting middle infielders on Opening Day for the 2017 Reds, it will indicate to me that this organization isn’t willing to make the hard choices that need to be made in order for this “rebuild” to be as quick a process as possible.

And I’m perfectly willing to concede that this would be an exceptionally difficult decision for Reds’ management to make. Phillips and Cozart have had great careers in the red and white uniforms. I’ve enjoyed watching both of those guys, I will be sad to see them go, and I will remember both of them fondly. BP will be a Reds Hall of Famer some day.

But listen, this club has Dilson Herrera and Jose Peraza and Eugenio Suarez, and by the end of next season, they may have Nick Senzel in the infield mix (and Tony Renda and Alfredo Rodriguez…). At some point, you have to see what those players are capable of. I’m of the opinion that we should have reached that point this year, but what do I know?

(Don’t answer that.)

Stay tuned…