Brandon Phillips is Available, Mets Should Pass
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Reds plan to trade second baseman Brandon Phillips this off-season. Phillips, 32, has four years and $50 million dollars left on his contract.
Sep 23, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (4) makes a play during the second inning against the New York Mets at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
During the 2013 campaign, Phillips hit .261 with a .310 OBP, 18 home runs and 100 RBI’s. His output this season average and on base wise was the worst of his Reds career.
The Mets have been connected to Phillips in the past, and the report that he’ll be available via trade this off-season will probably lead to the two being linked again.
The Mets currently have Daniel Murphy penciled in as their starting second baseman for 2014. He’s arbitration eligible, and will likely make roughly $5 million next season. Murphy is again arbitration eligible after the 2014 season, and is slated to become a free agent after 2015.
While Murphy’s defense at second base is passable at best and Phillips is regarded as one of the best defensive second basemen in the game, now is not the time for the Mets to go after Phillips.
Phillips will be 33 next June, and is owed a significant amount of money through his age 36 season. Over the last three seasons, Phillips’ batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage have been steadily declining. He had a triple slash of .300/.353/.457 in 2011, a triple slash of .281/.321/.429 in 2012, and a triple slash of .261/.310/.396 in 2013.
Murphy, who will turn 29 next April and doesn’t have the benefit of playing his home games in Great American Ballpark, had a triple slash of .286/.319/.415 in 2013.
Phillips’ defensive value partially makes up for his worsening offensive skills, but not enough for the Mets to deal significant pieces for him while taking on $50 million in salary through 2017.
There are rumors that the Mets will listen to trade offers for Murphy this off-season. If the Mets end up dealing Murphy to fill a need elsewhere on the roster, and the Reds are willing to eat a significant portion of Phillips’ salary, dealing for him might make some sense.
However, looking to deal Murphy for the sake of it while bringing in a diminished Phillips shouldn’t be Plan A.
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