Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Phillips to the Yankees has been a rumor that will not die for years now. It started a little more than two years ago with a rumor that New York rejected a deal that would have sent Brett Gardner to the Reds in exchange for Phillips. Robinson Cano leaving New York for Seattle seemed to ignite the fire of Phillips rumors because the Yankees’ second base job was filled with disappointment and bad decisions. Still, it seemed like nothing was really ever imminent.
The Nationals recently tried to trade for Phillips, but the second baseman demanded a boost to his contract in order to agree to the deal. It was at that point that the Nationals seemed to move on from the idea of Phillips, understandably. It doesn’t make a lot of sense why Phillips would make it so hard for a team that has the chance to contend to acquire him so that he can actually compete for a shot at the playoffs. That’s certainly not something he’s going to get in Cincinnati anytime soon. The Yankees have their second baseman now that they’ve traded for Starlin Castro, but CBS’s Jon Heyman dropped a line into his piece yesterday that might have surprised some: Phillips blocked a trade to the Yankees two years ago.
Doing the obvious math, this could have been connected to the rumor that started it all. Maybe the Yankees were on board with the Gardner swap before Phillips, like he did with the Nationals, asked for a little incentive to uproot himself from Ohio and move to New York. That is, of course, speculation, but it does kind of make sense. If that is the case, consider it a bullet dodged. Stephen Drew was a disaster, but he’s gone now. The team would still be stuck with an aging, declining Phillips going forward.
Maybe Phillips is one of those players who just doesn’t feel the gravitational pull of The Big Apple, or maybe his love for Cincinnati is such that he would only give it up if he had millions of dollars more to soften the blow. Whatever the reason he decided he didn’t want to allow a trade to the Yankees, it is probably for the best. Who knows if the Reds will find a team that wants to take on Phillips and will cough up the extra money necessary to get him to agree to such a deal. If he won’t do it for the Nationals with a chance to win and reunite with Dusty Baker, it seems like the Reds may just have to deal with him themselves a while longer.