The Reds have been trying to trade Brandon Phillips since last season as they rebuild, but he would invoke his no-trade clause, including a deal to Atlanta. He finally relented and was traded to the Braves for left-hander Andrew McKirahan and minor league right-hander Carlos Portuondo.
The biggest fantasy impact of this deal is what it does for Cincinnati. Reds manager Bryan Price has already announced the plan is for Jose Peraza to be the starting second baseman going into the season. Even with Peraza slated to be a utility player before this deal, fantasy players were aggressive in drafting Peraza.
Either those players were expecting Phillips to be traded or they believed Peraza would find 400-500 at-bats somehow. Peraza has the ability to pile up stolen bases and people are paying a high price for steals since they are down across baseball.
Peraza went in the ninth and tenth rounds in a 15-team league of drafts I recently participated in. I expect Peraza to go in the 80-100 range in upcoming drafts. Peraza, who will turn 23 in April, played in 72 games for the Reds last season.
Peraza batted .324 with 25 runs, three home runs, 25 RBIs and 21 stolen bases, although he did get caught stealing 10 times. While Peraza does not draw many walks as evidenced by a 2.7 percent walk rate last season, Peraza makes a lot of contact. He only struck out 12.9 percent of the time.
It's clear you are drafting Peraza for steals. He had two seasons of 60-plus stolen bases in the minors. Peraza should also provide a solid average, but won't help in home runs or RBIs. The runs could depend on where he hits in the batting order.
Position flexibility is an asset that Peraza brings to fantasy teams. He played 31 games at shortstop and 21 in the outfield and depending on your league rules, he should get second base eligibility early in the season.
The other name to keep an eye on for the rebuilding Reds is Dilson Herrera, who was acquired from the Mets last season in the Jay Bruce trade. If he doesn't start the season in a utility role, he could be called up at some point during the season, especially if the Reds deal Zack Cozart.
Phillips, 35, is a free agent after the 2017 season. Phillips had the right to block any trades, but since he waived the provision with the trade, the Braves added a $500,000 assignment bonus if he's traded. Phillips also has a limited no-trade provision that has 12 teams he can't be traded to without his approval.
The Braves tried to acquire Phillips in November and when he declined, Atlanta signed Sean Rodriguez, who injured his shoulder in a car accident a few weeks ago and is expected to miss three-to-five months. Ozzie Albies, 20, is the future second baseman for the Braves.
Phillips turns 36 in June and is coming off a solid season. He batted .291 with a .320 on-base percentage and .416 slugging percentage last season. He scored 74 runs with 11 home runs, 64 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. Phillips can produce similar numbers and is slated to hit sixth behind Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis, so there should be plenty of chances to drive in runs. At best, Phillips is a middle infielder in a mixed league.