The Atlanta Braves are on the verge of acquiring veteran second baseman Brandon Philips from the Cincinnati Reds, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
At this time, no other details of the deal are known, however, a relatively big package can be expected. Neither teams have since confirmed the deal. Looking back towards November of 2016, Philips had rejected a deal to Atlanta after advanced talks seemed to have reached finalization. Another club that was seeking his services was the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With all this speculation making it's rounds, Reds general manager Dick Williams was asked for a comment, however, was not made available for any further statement, however, Braves GM John Coppolella did speak with MLB.com's Mark Bowman and said the following, "We explore a myriad of trade opportunities, some which make more progress than others, and some which get more media attention than others. Trades aren't done until they are done."
As noted by Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, he's been told that these talks are more realistic than ever, however, the deal is not done just yet at some hurdles still remain uncrossed. He also mentions that a few changes have been made to the deal, making it more enticing for both ends of the negotiations.
Rosenthal confirms that hurdles do remain between the two-sides, while also saying that Philips must be medically cleared before final steps are put into play, though it is not considered to be a major concern.
The deal is expected to be completed tomorrow, meanwhile, the Reds, who's return piece is expected to be minimal, are expected to pay the remainder of the three-time All-Star's $14 million salary.
When Philips blocked the last proposed trade, sending him to Atlanta, it was the third time he had used his no-trade rights to block a transaction from happening. Deals in which he has denied making the transaction include the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Fast forward to this time and day, the Braves have since added Sean Rodriguez on a two-year, $11.5 million contract, however, with this deal presumably in place, the two will either split time at the bag, or Rodriguez will be slotted in as an everyday outfielder given his past experience with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Should the completion of what is currently an unknown deal fall into place, Philips, a three-time all star, will be handing over the everyday responsibilities at second base to Zach Cozart who will likely start to share time with a recent acquisition in Dilson Herrera.
Looking at the current contract in which Philips is on, the 35-year-old is in the final year of a six-year contract worth a total of $72.5 million, however, they have reportedly been looking for ways to clear the middle infield, ultimately finding trades for both Philips and Cozart in order to make room for Herrera as well as Jose Peraza.
Now reflecting back upon Phillip's 2016 campaign, he hit with a slash line of .291/.320/.416, alongside 11 home runs and 64 runs batted in, in a total of 141 games played. He was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in the second round of the 1999 amateur draft. He later signed in June of that season.
When asked about a possible move back at the Winter Meetings in Washington, Philips said, "Honestly I haven't really thought about anything. All I know is I'm the starting second baseman of the Cincinnati Reds, as of right now. I'm happy just to have a job. I'll just go from there. I don't really know what's going to happen. The only thing I know is I'm still in the Major Leagues. I'm playing baseball for the Cincinnati Reds. I love my city. I'm happy where I'm at. I can't really predict the future."
Philips, who is a client of ACES, made his MLB debut back in September of 2002 with the Cleveland Indians where he lasted four seasons before a trade sent him to the other end of Ohio.