The team’s legendary radio announcer Marty Brennaman said something similar on MLB Network Radio earlier this month.
In an effort to further shake up the team, in the wake of firing Dusty Baker, the Reds know Phillips is their best chance to free up payroll and bring in immediate-impact prospects, according to Brennaman.
Phillips, 32, has four-years and $50 million left on his current contract, during which he will earn just $11 million in 2014. He has played 140 games each of the last six seasons.
In 666 plate appearances for the Reds last season, Phillips hit just .261 with a .310 OBP, 18 home runs, 24 doubles and 103 RBI, while batting slightly better against right-handed pitching.
Phillips is still a good player, but not as good as he used to be. He produced in 2013, but that could have been helped by both the venues he played in regularly and the supporting cast around him. His batting average and OPS have gone down and his strikeout rate has increased over the last two seasons, and so I wonder if he hasn't already begun the decline phase of his career. He would make the Mets better in a few areas, especially up the middle defensively. But, it's difficult to expect his level of production to be maintained and his defense to remain consistent through the rest of the contract no matter what team he is on. Considering that, his age, plus the dollars and years left on his current contract, his value must be seriously considered for any team which looks to acquire him.
With respect to the Mets, they would have to figure out what to do with Daniel Murphy, whether it's moving him back to first base or to another team. Murphy had both a higher OBP and higher SLG than Phillips in 2013, is younger and will cost between $6-7 million less than Phillips in 2014. And so, if Phillips can only really serve as a defensive upgrade to Murphy at this stage of his career, they might be better suited leaving Murphy alone in this scenario and investing the difference in salary in other areas of the roster.