Cincinnati- The Reds have sent Brandon Phillips and cash to the Atlanta Braves for a couple of pitching prospects, southpaw Andrew McKirahan and righty Carlos Portuondo. Both teams made the announcement around 2pm today. The Braves made their second attempt to nab Phillips after Sean Rodriguez injured his shoulder in a car accident last month. Phillips enforced is no trade clause on a deal that would have sent him to Atlanta last season. The details also specify that the Reds will pay all most all of the $14 million that Phillips is owed on the remainder of his contract. The veteran infielder also enforced his no trade clause last year on proposed deals to Washington and Arizona. This could be somewhat of a homecoming for Phillips. He grew up in nearby Stone Mountain, GA so that could have had an impact on agreeing to play ball down south this coming season.
This deal looks to favor Atlanta greatly. The veteran second baseman can still produce offensively and is one of the league’s best infielders defensively. In 141 games last season, Phillips had a .291 average, 11 home runs, 64 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. The three time all-star should fit in well with Atlanta and will provide stellar defense and some pop with the bat.
By the looks of things, Cincinnati didn’t fare too well. McKirahan missed all of last season due to under going Tommy John surgery. In 2015, the southpaw struggled in the Braves bullpen. He appeared in 27 games for Atlanta out of the bull pen and compiled a 5.93 era before being suspended 80 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Portuondo seems to be the better piece of this deal for the Reds, but not by a large margin. The 28 year old Cuban native posted a 3.63 era in 2016 in 34 innings splitting time between high A Mississippi and AAA Gwinnett.
Dealing Phillips to the Braves will provide an everyday spot for Jose Peraza. He batted .324 in 241 plate appearances last year for the Reds. Peraza was actually signed by the Braves in 2010 before being dealt to the Dodgers July 2015. In December of that year, Peraza was then dealt to Reds along with Scott Schebler and Brandon Dixon in a three team deal that had the Reds sending Todd Frazier to the White Sox. Along with opening up the infield for an everyday position for Peraza, the Reds are also looking for much needed pitching help. Last year, the Reds were ranked 28th in the league for pitching with a 4.91 era.
No one knows yet why Phillips decided to change his mind and approve a deal to Atlanta, but he did hint last night on twitter that the trade was going to happen. His carefree attitude and playful personality will be welcomed in Atlanta. The Reds have also expressed interest in dealing shortstop Zack Cozart, but health issues hinder the chances of moving him before the start of the season.