Reds GM tries to put Phillips trade talk to rest
In face of rumors, Jocketty says team not looking to deal All-Star second baseman
CINCINNATI -- Although trade rumors about Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips have persisted for much of the offseason, general manager Walt Jocketty indicated on Wednesday that no deals for his All-Star player were forthcoming.
"I talked with Brandon on Tuesday," Jocketty said. "His agent called me about a couple of things. I said, 'Look, I will just call Brandon.' I told him the truth. At this point, we really haven't had any talks with clubs about him. I said, 'You're still a part of this club.' I'm not saying something couldn't come up, but basically my job is to put together the best team and organization to make us successful. If there's something that came along later, then I'd have to look at it. Right now, he's part of this club and should feel that way."
In October and November, the Reds were reportedly shopping Phillips, with one of the inquiring teams believed to be the Yankees. It's unclear what kind of market or level of interest there was for Phillips.
The market for second basemen has high volume this winter with Robinson Cano, Omar Infante and Mark Ellis as free agents, and the Angels' Howie Kendrick reportedly available for trade.
Phillips, 32, has four years and $50 million remaining on his current contract.
Despite driving in 103 runs, Phillips had lower offensive numbers in 2013 than his track record would indicate. He batted .261 with 18 home runs in 151 games, but his .310 on-base percentage and .396 slugging percentage were his lowest figures since 2008 and '06, respectively. His 2013 numbers took a dip following being hit on the left forearm by a pitch and missing four games.
The Reds invited Phillips to Redsfest, which is being held on Friday and Saturday. He has yet to accept or say he would attend.
"Hopefully he'll decide to come to Redsfest. I think he will," Jocketty told MLB Network Radio in a different interview. "He's very close to the fans, and the fans are important to him and he's still part of this organization. I think he understands his responsibility."