The Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners have completed their trade from earlier this spring when the Reds sent All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Eugenio Suárez to the Mariners in exchange for pitchers Justin Dunn, Brandon Williamson, outfielder Jake Fraley, and a player to be named later. That player was named on Tuesday night as Connor Phillips.

Background on Connor Phillips

The right-handed pitcher has been drafted twice. In 2019 he was selected, but didn’t sign, in the 35th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2020’s shortened, 5-round draft, the Mariners selected Phillips in the 2nd round out of McLennan Community College and this time around he opted to sign and begin his professional career.

He’s listed at 6′ 2″ and 190 lbs. Phillips is still 20-years-old, but will turn 21 in early May. Last season he split his time between Low-A and High-A in Seattle’s farm system. The righty made 17 starts – 16 with Low-A Modesto where he posted a 4.75 ERA in 72.0 innings where he gave up 62 hits, 1 home run, 44 walks, and struck out 104, and then made one start in High-A Everett where he allowed an earned run in 4.0 innings with seven strikeouts.

Connor Phillips Scouting Report

There’s some good stuff in the scouting report for Connor Phillips, but there’s also some stuff that is concerning. Let’s start off with the good stuff: He’s got two potentially plus offerings. His fastball works 93-96 MPH and touches 98 with good movement. His slider has good sweeping action to it and works in the mid-80’s.

Now to the less than stellar stuff. His change up works in the mid-to-upper 80’s and is a poor offering. His control isn’t very good, either. Last season he walked 13.5% of the batters he faced in A-ball. If he’s going to remain a starting pitcher in the long term his change up and his control must take big steps forward.

Fangraphs has some video from two weeks ago of Phillips from an intrasquad game in Mariners camp that you can watch below:

64 Responses

  1. Redsvol

    not bad, but I was hoping for more. I think one service says he was their 12th rated prospects. I think for a 20 year old he pitched well in California A ball last year. That is not an easy league to pitch in. I was hoping for their top rated shortstop or top rated outfielder not named Julio Rodriguez but we can never have too much pitching.

  2. Bdh

    I’m very pleased to get another top 15 prospect as a PTBNL. Just adds to the depth of the system. On mlb, who doesn’t count Barrero any longer, it bumped Sanmartin, who’s earning a big league rotation spot, out of the top 30

    Side note – how good could that Dayton rotation be now!? You should see a top 30 prospect every game there now
    Bonnin
    Roa
    Abbott
    Boyle
    Phillips

    • Tom Reeves

      Man, we’ve aquifers a lot of pitching prospect talent for Derek Johnson!

      If the Reds can develop a steady stream of pitching talent, it takes so much pressure off the front office.

      • Tom Reeves

        Ugh, I wish I could go back and edit posts. I hate autocorrect typos.

      • Michael

        Tom I think the autocorrect makes it that much better. Hopefully the Aquifers keep on supplying quality pitching for years to come!!!

  3. MK

    Looking at Connor’s online scouting report sounds like he could become a poor man’s Tyler Mahle.

  4. realist

    Wow just crazy, sell the team Bob, a terrible trade. How are any of these guys going to help the Reds in the near future? A rebuild started after a failed rebuild, Pirates are going to love battling the reds for the basement.

    • Grand Salami

      Got 5, 12, and a former 3 from a solid system (ranked better than our own) plus Fraley for 2 good players with obvious weaknesses and shed 50 mill in payroll.

      Overall it was the right move to make and netted an acceptable return.

    • Luke J

      Reds won that trade and it wasn’t even close.

      • Daytonnati

        So Nick Krall’s a savant now? I wish you folks would make up your mind 🙂

      • Luke J

        @Datonnati I’ve never said either a good word or bad word about Krall. I’m just saying what I see regarding this trade. And I’m not alone. Most media outlets and trade evaluators say the same thing. I think the problem is less those of us willing to look at things objectively and more with those who refuse to acknowledge any moves by the Reds front office as good. That would ruin their narrative after all.

      • Luke J

        @ColoradoRed That remains to be seen. Sonny Gray is one of those guys who is nearing that precipice where his stuff falls off a cliff and without major adjustments, his effectiveness plummets. It’s possible the Reds believe he is washed. If that is true, and he has a terrible year and never bounces back, then getting a high level young pitching prospect like Petty would look like a steal. But yeah, if they just dumped the salary of Gray without believing he was washed, it’s only a good deal if you have no intention of winning any time soon.

    • Greenfield Red

      The last rebuild failed for multiple reasons. One of them was Jocketty’s insistance that the return on all trades be near major league ready. That is code for not that good, and that is certainly how it worked out.

      Get young guys who are 3 to 4 years away with a lot of upside, and that is what this is.

      • MBS

        I thought that was Bob’s doing. Either way I agree, that was a major flaw in the last rebuild attempt. Also holding onto players too long, trade when the have value or sign them, the middle ground is where you get hurt.

  5. Redsgettingbetter

    Abbott is more intended to be a reliever than a starter. I think Marinan is going to open many games with Dayton this season in that rotation

  6. Bdh

    Due to Suarez’s negative value the trade simulator has the reds winning that trade by a decent margin now.

    • Jack

      Of course you traded Suarez at his absolute least value. If the last 6 weeks of last were the old Suarez returning then Seattle won this trade easily. Obviously the Reds must believe he is done.

      • Bdh

        Last 2 seasons he’s posted 2 of the 5 worst full season batting averages in reds franchise history.

        He’s just hunting for home runs. At the 2019 reds fest when Suarez was coming off of his 49 home run season (also the season he led the league in strikeouts) he said his goal for 2020 was to hit 50 home runs. I called it then that he was going to tank with that approach. Not surprised he’s hit .202 and .198 in the seasons since

  7. DaveCT

    Given he missed the 2020 season, getting 17 starts and 75 plus innings in A ball is a decent developmental step. We should know much more after a year in DJ’s system.

  8. RedBb

    Nothing wrong with this….ppl upset need to check themselves. Top 10-15 prospect. in a Farm System way better than ours is nothing to be upset about. Go protest about something else…

  9. Old-school

    The Reds could have won the off-season except for losing Jesse Winker which might still be ok. The big issue is the Reds return on trades- see in 2024 but the bigger issue is Bob Castellini’s payroll. If Castellini made all these moves AND spent $145 million and bolstered the bullpen and got a legit $10 million pitcher not named Minor and another big time hitter, Things would be a lot better. Also need to DFA Akiyama to prove the Reds FO is committed to the future.

  10. Allan chandler

    Hate this. Yet another project arm added to mix, instead of mlb-ready talent. Reds always building towards a future that never arrives.

    How about trading for some hitters?

    • Greenfield Red

      Teams won’t trade major league ready talent that is good. What if the Reds were to trade Greene or Lodolo now. We would all go nuts.

    • MK

      The teams willing to take on payroll are teams preparing to compete and those teams are not trading their major league ready talent. They want them for their selves. The Reds got Fraley because Winker is taking his spot and Dunn because he would not help them this season.
      If when considering this trade we consider Suarez might never be the same due to the 20-21 off-season shoulder injury that has obviously changed his swing.

    • Luke J

      Trading MLB players for mlb-ready talent has 2 possible outcomes since opposing GMs aren’t idiots. Either you trade for equal talent, which is a lateral move, or you get guys with low ceilings. The only way to come out ahead trading MLB players is to get prospects with high upside. You are delusional regarding your expectation of the trade value of current MLB players. The only way lateral moves makes sense is if you have an excess of one position and need a very specific piece to complete your lineup in return. That isn’t where the Reds are right now. The return for Winker/Suarez was actually very nice

      • Allan Chandler

        NO. The return sucked. Because in Cincinnati, the future never arrives.

        You can talk about how this trade netted the top pitching prospects from the Mariners and say that the Reds “won.” I don’t buy it. Especially since they knowingly traded for damaged goods with Dunn. In 4-5 years we might know if this trade worked out, but I’m sick and tired of waiting.

        Did the Reds win the Cueto deal when the three top prospects they got back basically all failed? No. People said it was a great trade at the time. Prospects are just that.

        I am not delusional. I’m a fan since 1978 who is sick of the organization making awful trades just to get rid of players. When is this team ever going to be good enough to win RIGHT NOW? The answer is never.

      • Greenfield Red

        The three prospects they got back for Cueto were all major league ready. None of them contributed anything meaningful to the Reds. You made my point. Thank you.

      • Luke J

        Allan, the Reds are not in “win now” position, whether you like it or not. They might have the pieces to contend for the 12th playoff spot, both before and after this trade, but that isn’t actually contending for “winning now.” If a team like the Reds wants to WIN NOW, they have to position themselves to do that within a short window. That means pick a year, get all the top prospects you can get who will be ready in that year, and fill in the gaps in free agency FOR THAT YEAR. Like it or not, that’s the way to have a shot at the world series for small market teams. I hate to tell you this, but if you think the Reds can be in “win now” mode year in and year out like they were in the 70s, you are delusional. It can’t be done anymore. As constructed in 2021 they were not in a position to win a world series. Adding a couple major league ready players by giving up some major league players was not changing that. If they want to ever compete for a title, they absolutely MUST look to the future. Maybe the prospects don’t pan out and we start over. But it’s literally the only shot.

      • greenmtred

        It’s an awful trade because you’re sick of waiting? It’s true that prospects don’t always pan out, just as it true that established older players can suffer age-related decline or get injured or both. A rebuild is just as good as the players involved. Past rebuilds prove nothing about this one.

  11. MBS

    I’m happy with the return, i got to admit i was hoping for an OF, but good arms are obviously valuable.

  12. Jim Walker

    I still don’t understand why Wade Miley was waived for nothing and eventually replaced with Mike Minor at a greater cost than Miley would have been in 2022.

    If anyone says the Gray and Garrett trades paid for Minor, my response is why couldn’t they have paid for Miley with a couple of million left over?

    And why was Suarez replaced with Solano and Winker with Pham at a combined cost approaching what Saurez would have made this year when we are led to believe Winker had to go to get Suarez off the books.

    The money off the books from Castellanos and Barnhart (~$20M in 2021) was spent for what when it could have been spent on Winker and Suarez making this 2022 team a legitimate playoff contender even without Castellanos.

    • Amarillo

      I think what happened is that Castellini saw all the fan anger and shifted to re-adding payroll to try to quell the animosity. Of course, the players chosen happen to be worse than what we already had, but this at least allows the front office to claim they are spending money.

      • Jim Walker

        You may well be correct. My point is we are playing their game when we decide who “won” this trade or that trade or how the team came out.

        The $20M that came off the books from NC and TB was just the start. Lorenzen made $4.4m+. Bedrosian and Doolittle $1.5m each. 2 months of Givens came to more than $1M

        A team that would have been a legitimate contender in the new playoff system was gutted for profit. I hope that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

      • Tom Reeves

        The front office has shift strategies in the off season and already knew the fan reaction would be harsh. The Reds didn’t add to the roster this year to appease fans.

        The Reds are building toward a future where Greene, Lodolo, India, and Stephenson are the heart of a strong, sustainable roster. The Reds realize they will not be able to compete in free agency and that big name free agent contracts put the club at significant risk. Right now the farm system is stocked full of pitching and IF talent.

        We won’t know this year if this is a good strategy. But the front office would be dumb to abandon the strategy over a off season fan reactions. Strategy is all about choosing a path at the exclusion of other paths.

        The best answer any of us can have is “we’ll see.”

      • Amarillo

        @Tom Reeves I understand that’s the stated goal, but it you look at the moves themselves, I’m not sure they move toward that stated goal. -Miley +Minor doesn’t make any bit a sense no matter how you look at it. Chase Petty has plenty of upside but doesn’t fit the timetable of our other prospects. It would have been really nice to have Barnhart work with Greene and Lodolo in their rookie years. If the Goal is to develop young starters, then you have the aforementioned duo, Vlad Gut, Reiver, and next year Ashcraft and Williamson. So, Justin Dunn doesn’t make a ton of sense from a rotation spot standpoint. Idunno, taking the Rays approach makes sense in theory, but I don’t see how any of these moves follow the Rays approach.

    • Klugo

      I think it’s because they didnt value Winker and Suarez as much as some do; and I can see that. Whether I agree or not, at least it’s a sign of a pulse.
      Now the Miley, thing…. your guess is as good as mine.

    • Old-school

      Ownership gave Krall a mandate last October to cut the budget to $105 million for this year AND eliminate Suarez guaranteed contract in 2023/24. Moose and Akiyama had zero value. Suarez had some and was the only Reds player under contract in 2024.

      1.) Krall went about things in sequence. Cut Miley, Trade Barnhart, save $17 million.
      2.) Trade gray and save $10 million
      3.) Trade Winker and Suarez and save $20 million this year but also $23 million next year with Winker arbitration and Suarez $12 mil in 2024
      4.) Trade Garrett and his 2,3 mil
      5.) No one would take Akiyama $8 mil this year or Moose $30 mil in 22/23.

      Once the payroll was blown up for 2022 and financial flexibility for 2023/24 was achieve , Krall had executed his mandate from ownership. THEN, he went about the business to backfill the roster with the $105 million budget as the spending limit, even if it meant the right hand in March wasnt paying attention to what the left hand did in October. (Minor over Miley).

      • Jim Walker

        You are probably right; but, they needed to be honest and just say this up front. Instead, the man making the decision hid behind his mouthpiece who was left to dance a disingenuous dance with the public until the house of cards started falling apart.

        Divesting themselves of the obligations to Barnhart, Miley and Gray were all 3 reasonable baseball and financial decisions. Turning around and sinking more money into Mike Minor than they would have owed Miley was not.

        Spending $7.5m on one year of Tommy Pham versus spending a million less for one more year of Winker was also not a good baseball or financial decision.

        Getting a known sore shouldered pitcher (Justin Dunn), a player who profiles as a TJ Friedl clone (Jake Fraley) and a poor man’s Nick Lodolo (Brandon Williamson) and a 20 year guy who profiles as slightly better than a lottery pick for Winker and Suarez does not make baseball sense as none of these guys fit a need.

      • LDS

        Miley is the only one that is truly unfathomable. Winker has bad splits, not great defensively, and injury prone. Suarez has been bad for two years and trending worse. Some blame the shoulder injury. I still think it’s a head issue. His 2019 HR total distorted his view of who he was. Barnhart? Everyone knew that was coming in some form. Garrett? I suspect he’s more a disrupter than an asset and his pitching was spotty at best. Gray? Mixed but probably trending down as well and showing some signs of injury tendencies. So, who they dumped is less an issue to me than who they did acquire. Dunn? Starts on IL and likely out months. Minor? Injury list. Moran? Can’t cut it on the Pirates and Reds fans tout that as a good acquisition? Fraley? Career .196 hitter. The list goes on and on. Of the offseason acquisitions thus far, I think Williamson, Strickland, and maybe Pham if GABP boosts his numbers sufficiently will be good for the team. The rest, doubtful. As for Akiyama and Moustakas, there are markets for them. Bottom line, I see a lot of fans putting lipstick on a pig and trying to talk about how the Reds really are better – “in a weird way”. In reality, Castellini and the FO failed again and fans are supposed to simply suck it up and be happy that they’re getting a full season of the game.

    • Luke J

      I don’t think this team is significantly better, or really even better at all, with Winker and Suarez. This was addition by subtraction. This team got faster, more versatile, and with much better defense in the off-season. Suarez is a huge question mark, and Winker can only hit righties. So the bats don’t make up for the defensive deficiencies and clogging the base paths. The emphasis on speed and defense lately is a breath of fresh air to me. THAT is how a small market team manufactures wins and contends.

      • AllTheHype

        Reds FO has constructed the roster entirely around Bell’s strengths and weaknesses. Bell sorely mismanaged the lineup with Suarez (whom Bell insisted should be in the middle of the lineup despite obvious evidence from 2020 onward that he should not) and Winker (whom Bell insisted on batting 2nd against LHS despite the fact that he is inept against LHP).

        And now they have added several very solid and flexible position players, Pham (R), Finley (L), Solano (R), and Moran (L) that will fit perfectly into Bell’s penchant for handedness lineups.

        Not to mention they also added three solid pitching prospects and a MLB starter that won’t be on the OD roster.

        Many folks here like to bash the FO. I see it much differently. To me it looks like roster construction with a plan for now and the future.

      • Scot Lykins

        I agree. Winker and Suarez were both had huge holes in their respective games. We need players with more of a balance. Good all-around. Not a player who is very good in sone area and very poor in another.

      • stuckonthenorthshore

        @jim walker

        “but, they needed to be honest and just say this up front”

        Generally not the strong suit of businessmen. Usually they are twisting the words in their own heads so they believe they are being honest. Usually because they only remember things and events that are beneficial to their current view.

    • Kevin H

      Thank you!! Excellent post and why I am frustrated with this organization..

  13. TR

    I’m a bit disappointed. I was hoping for a young centerfielder from Seattle to eventually take over a very important position.

    • Allan Chandler

      Exactly. The Reds have proved that they can develop pitching, but they have few young position players at the ready. You can’t win with good pitching alone. 2019 proved that.

      Not trading your most valuable pieces for at least one good, young position player was extremely negligent.

  14. realist

    It seems some fans are easily duped, the reds haven’t won a playoff series since 1995 and some are saying the reds won this trade after the rebuild was a total failure. The problem is Bob Castellini even if these guys turn out to be good major league pitchers (and the odds say they won’t) he won’t stick with the new rebuild plan and will meddle in the baseball operations and muck everything up. No trade or free agent can cover up the complete incompetence of Bob Castellini.

    • Allan Chandler

      Truth. But some just care about the micro version of each trade and claim “win” when you won’t know anything for 2-3 years. Veteran Reds fans know better. I’m not getting fooled again.

    • Votto4life

      Realist, you are living up to moniker. I agree ?.

      In 2 or 3 short years India and Stephenson will be dealt for players that will help the team align their payroll with resources. I suspect then we will be debating if the reds got enough in return.

  15. Jim Walker

    Here is what’s going on. Cutting bait on Winker and Suarez, particularly Winker who was a sunken cost of $6-7m this year and no future sunken cost as he could be disposed of with the Miley treatment if untradable, is saying this team does not see itself seriously contending until (at least) 3 years out from now. By then Stephenson and India will be Winker financially. Greene and Lodolo will be just a year behind them. How many of these guys will have to be moved just to keep paying the bills versus added to in order to make a contending team?

    If ownership can’t afford to do better or chooses not to, they should be compelled by MLB to sell to someone who would. The only way to stop tanking and profit skimming is force owners to compete or get out.

    • VaRedsFan

      You’re missing the elephant in the room.
      Votto and Moose salaries will be off the books after next year.

  16. ClevelandRedsFan

    You have to look at it beyond just who makes more or less money. For the Reds and other small market teams, prospects are currency.

    It’s true that Pham will not provide the same value as Winker in 2022. But Pham only costs salary and not prospects. Reds gave up $0 in prospect currency to get him.

    I’m willing to bet that over the next 5-7 years Dunn, Williamson, Fraley, and Phillips provide more WAR than Winker + Suarez do. Reds sold high on Winker for once, and it’s refreshing to see.

    GMs are always going to spend every penny of payroll they are given. Signing Pham for a 1 year deal is a good move. Reds have had a lot of success lately finding hitters of the scrap pile: Scooter, Dietrich, Naquin, and even Iglesias. If it doesn’t work out with Pham, then the Reds are only out salary in 2022 and not wins in 2023 and beyond.

  17. Daytonnati

    Jim Bowden had a column in The Athletic yesterday grading each team’s off-season, In the NL Central, the Cubs received a “B+”, the Cardinals a “B-“, the Brewers a “C+”, and the Pirates a “C-.” Alas, granted, he may be biased here, but he gave the Reds a D. This article was published before we learned of the player to be named later.

    Cincinnati Reds
    Grade: D

    Trades: Traded LF Jesse Winker and 3B Eugenio Suárez to Mariners for LHP Brandon Williamson, RHP Justin Dunn, OF Jake Fraley and a player to be named; traded RHP Sonny Gray and RHP Francis Peguero to Twins for RHP Chase Petty; traded C Tucker Barnhart to Tigers for 3B Nick Quintana; traded LHP Amir Garrett to Royals for LHP Mike Minor and cash

    Free agents: OF Tommy Pham, 1 year/$7.5 million; INF Donovan Solano, 1 year/$4.5 million; INF Colin Moran, 1 year/$1 million; RHP Hunter Strickland, 1 year/$1.825 million

    The Reds were relatively quiet before the lockout, apart from declining their 2023 options on lefty Wade Miley ($10 million), whom they placed on waivers after failing to trade him, and catcher Tucker Barnhart ($7.5 million), whom they traded to the Tigers for third baseman Nick Quintana, who hit .196/.329/.346 in Low A last season. (They also lost outfielder Nick Castellanos, who opted out of the final two years of his contract, then declined the qualifying offer before signing with Philadelphia.) When the work stoppage ended, the Reds went into full sell mode. Their best trade was landing first-round pick Chase Petty, an 18-year-old righty who consistently throws more than 100 mph, in a deal with the Twins for Sonny Gray and Francis Peguero. Their worst trade was dumping left fielder Jesse Winker and third baseman Eugenio Suárez, along with the $35 million owed to Suárez, for what amounts to three role players. That was the worst trade of the MLB offseason. The Reds also had people in the industry scratching their heads about the decision to deal lefty reliever Amir Garrett for veteran starter Mike Minor, who appears to be in decline. But it’s easy to understand these trades in context: GM Nick Krall had to reduce payroll because of the Reds’ financial shortfalls over the past couple of years; that’s just part of doing business in a small market like Cincinnati. Here’s the sad part: With the expanded 12-team playoff field, the Reds would have made the postseason last year, but after these deals and the improvement of other NL teams, it’s unlikely they’ll do so in 2022.

    • Amarillo

      This makes me feel a lot better about the offseason. If Jim Bowden disagrees with a decision, then you can guarantee the decision was the correct one.

      • Votto4life

        True Dat. Whatever leather pants says to do..do the opposite.

    • Luke J

      It’s fun to cherry pick assessments, isn’t it?

      ESPN graded every team’s offseason and gave the Reds a B-.

      Hmm.

      • greenmtred

        You need to give some hard thought to your statement that the past is the only reasonable predictor of the future. Sounds good, lacks substance. The past sometimes–in general terms–predicts the future, but it’s too fallible a measure to count on. Just consider the entirety of the 21st century to date.

    • realist

      Oh it comes from Jim Bowden so it must be ridiculous. Some reds fans are just fooling themselves giving any credit to this reds ownership and front office, it makes me seriously think Nick Krall and Castellini are running a black flag operation posting comments on here, LOL. Nothing will change in Cincinnati until Bob sells the team to someone who isn’t a complete incompetent. The only reasonable predictor of the future is the past and the reds last 25 years is as pathetic as they come. Rebuild part two? Why would you think Bob could pull it off?

      • greenmtred

        Pham might provide the same value as Winker if Winker only plays a fraction of the season.

      • VegasRed

        Between Luke the optimist and the Realist, and my own observation of the Castellini years, I’m afraid the evidence is against you Luke.

        But hope on anyway because we all hope you are correct that the reds have a plan and the ability to make it succeed.

        But bob’s recent statement just tells me he is either clueless himself, ie benignly incompetent, or a bald faced liar doubling down on his well known past lies.

        Sadly I’m not sure which scenario is true. Which is even more frustrating.

  18. doofus

    Once again Red’s ownership and front office rearrange the deck chairs.

  19. Allan Chandler

    So many comments telling us to just trust the process – i.e. “Lie back and enjoy it”

    The Reds were in a position to WIN NOW. They were – even if Castellanos left. But they gutted the team, getting pennies on the dollar for trades, and began another rebuild.

    This ownership knows NOTHING about how to rebuild. So the comment how this rebuild is not linked to the last few? Disagree.

    Sick of the constant tearing down before anything tangible is built. But sure – we won the trades and things are looking up (vomits)