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Reds take Phillips off trading block for now

Jim Walker



FLORENCE, Ky. — Contrary to rumors, Brandon Phillips will be the Cincinnati Reds’ starting second baseman.

Despite failed attempts to trade Phillips to Arizona and Washington during the off-season, Reds’ president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said Phillips is off the trading block.

“I haven’t had any discussions since the Arizona thing and he didn’t accept that one,” said Jocketty who noted that the Diamondbacks filled their needs by dealing for Milwaukee’s Jean Segura.

Phillips is a player with 10 years of major league service and at least five years with a current team that gives him the right to block any trades.

Since he lives year-round in Cincinnati, Phillips is not anxious to leave the Queen City.

“It’s just hard to assign someone else that job,” said Reds’ manager Bryan Price during a caravan stop last weekend. “If Brandon is with us, I expected him to be playing second base.”

Phillips, 34, still has two years on his current contract that will pay him $27 million.

If Phillips is traded, the heir apparent is talented prospect Jose Peraza who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a December trade.

“We want (Pereza) to play as much as possible. Everybody knows what’s out there,” said Price.

The Reds did trade third baseman Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox and ace reliever Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees.

As usual, the deal were the result of failed contract talks.

“It was a difficult decision because we really like those guys, too. We made long-term offer to Frazier last year when we signed him to a two-year deal. They countered and it was high. We weren’t able to get it don and we didn’t think we’d be in a position to sign him next year,” said Jocketty.

“Chapman, the same thing. He’ll be a free agent at the end of this year. We didn’t think we’d be in a position to sign them. We felt they were at the peak of their value for what we’d get in return. These were not easy decisions.”

Price plans to fuel the Reds’ rebuilding process this season with some young players out of the minor leagues including outfielders Jesse Winkler and Scott Schebler and pitcher Robert Stephenson.