The trade deadline is less than 72 hours away, and there are more opinions on whether the Reds should make a major move than Phyllis Diller got rhymes. Some say the Reds should stay put and see if their young players (Cozart, Alonso and Heisey) can give them the spark they need. Those wanting to deal are torn between landing another starting pitcher, a reliever, or a solid bat to stick in the middle of the lineup.
As for me, I think they need to make a deal, but the deal should be with a player already on their roster. The Reds need to sign Brandon Phillips to a long-term contract.
I know what you’re thinking: What’s the rush? The Reds have him signed through the end of the season, and have an option to sign him in 2012 for $12 million. But I think signing him now, in the middle of what has been a less than stellar season for the club, sends the right message about the Reds’ intentions for the next few seasons.
Let’s face it: if the Reds let Phillips go after 2012, whoever takes his spot at second will represent a drop off in defense–no matter who he might be. Phillips is the best defensive second baseman in the league, and there is no question he is the best Reds player at that position since Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. I grew up watching Morgan play, and I don’t recall him having the range or arm strength of Phillips. At least with the glove, he is a once in a generation player.
Offensively, he’s not Joe Morgan. But among all second basemen today, he ranks third in RBI, sixth in batting average, ninth in homers and OBP, and tenth in slugging and OPS. Those stats are pretty good, but I have a feeling we haven’t seen the best of him yet. BP is 31-the age Barry Larkin was when he had his MVP season. I think Phillips is going to have one of those magical seasons when everything just clicks for him and he will be a MVP candidate. I only hope he’s wearing a Reds uniform when it happens.
But aside from all that, Brandon Phillips is the face of the Cincinnati Reds. Yes, I know. He drives us nuts sometimes. We wish he hadn’t publicly called the Cardinals a bunch of WLBs (even though THEY ARE) and sometimes he seems a little too casual on the field.
@DatDudeBP has the greatest smile in the game and (largely through twitter) has developed a relationship with his fans like nothing we have ever seen. He’s cracking jokes with the haters in St. Louis and flying his #BP FansShawty out to hang with him on road trips. He’s showing up at a kid’s youth league game. And (quite important in this day and age) he doesn’t appear to be destined for scandal. Word is the only alcohol that has ever touched his lips was a sip of celebratory champagne after winning the division last season.
I grew up with an appreciation for a specific Reds trade as a crucial component in forming the Big Red Machine. In November 1971, the Reds sent Lee May, Jimmy Stewart and Tommy Helms to Houston for Ed Armbrister, Denis Menke, Cesar Geronimo, Jack Billingham and Joe Morgan. Armbrister was a decent pinch hitter. Menke was later traded for Pat Darcy, who went 11-5 for the Reds in 1975. Geronimo won four gold gloves in centerfield. Billingham averaged 12.5 wins in six seasons for the Reds. And I seem to recall the aforementioned Morgan guy ended up alright.
It’s still the greatest trade in Reds history, but another that has to rank right up there is the one they made in 2006 with the Indians. Phillips came to the Reds for nothing more than a “player to be named later.” That player, Jeff Stevens, has logged a grand total of 7 innings pitching for the Cubs this season.
Following a third consecutive loss to the Mets at home, the Reds’ season may quickly be fading away. And that’s why it’s time to make another great deal.
It’s time to give DatDude a long-term contract.