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View Full Version : Brandon Phillips Plays Where?



mth123
11-01-2006, 06:50 AM
The Reds are making (another) curious move. They seem set against a move of Phillips to SS. Putting Phillips at SS would remove a major need (that has very scarce options) from the shopping list and allow the Reds to choose from multiple options at 2B giving them much more selectivity and leverage for adding or utilizing the players who best fit the offensive needs. It might also be an upgrade at 2B depending on who is brought in. As well as Phillips played at 2B, he really was nothing special turning the DP and his range, hands, etc, would seem just as (or more) valuable at SS.

There are multiple options to capably man 2B. They could bring Aurilia back, sign Kennedy, Loretta, Belliard, etc. or just split time with Freel and Harris.

Making Phillips the fixture at 2B also keeps Freel in the OF and w/o IF time he is really devalued IMO. Harris becomes a non-entity. Phillips would have more value as an accomplished SS than as a 2B. Keeping him at 2B seems to be removing value from all 3 players who figure to be on next year's roster.

Given how much this would seem to make sense, and how against it the Reds seem to be, I have to conclude that the Reds really don't like the idea of Phillips at SS.

Anyone know why? Do they love him at 2B so much that they don't want to move him? Do they think he can't play SS? Is his arm too weak? Is it just a negotiating ploy for getting Richie back for less money (seems strange if it is)? Do they want a proven vet playing next to EE?

I just can't figure it out.

Natty Redlocks
11-01-2006, 08:21 AM
I think the logic is that they know they like him at 2nd, but don't know for sure how he'd do at short. So keeping him where he is would be their first choice. I've never gotten the impression they were dead set against moving him.

redsmetz
11-01-2006, 08:47 AM
I'm puzzled. Has some formal announcement been made or are you basing this on their previous non-committal "there's no immediate plan" type statements?

SeeinRed
11-01-2006, 09:27 AM
There is no doubt in my mind that the Reds will give him a look at SS. The question is how serious of a look will that be. During the season, on multiple occasions, Narron and Krivsky both eluded to the fact that they are perfectly happy leaving Phillips at 2B. Its hard to tell if they were talking about the current situation or the future. I like mth believe that they would in fact rather go get a SS then use Phillips at SS if they can't get one. I can't pin point reasons for my belief, its a combination of things said and done.

Remember when Phillips was given a look at the end of the season. That sure didn't amount to much. Granted, they were still technically in the playoff race. Still, I haven't seen anything to make me believe Phillips is going to be given serious consideration at SS. The proof will come in either the offseason where they could make a move for a SS or 2B, or in spring training where if they are going to give Phillips a shot, they have to push him hard at SS.

I do believe however that wether or not Aurillia comes back could play into this.

redsfan4445
11-01-2006, 09:35 AM
with the talk of keeping Phillips at 2nd, i have this feeling our next SS will be from outside the orginization.. i have a hunch it will revolve around A-rod or Tejada.. I feel Bob is going to make a splash to really make change to show Reds fans, that losing ways are not tolerated...Just my gut feel.. guess we shall see... and i think it will involve Adam dunn too..

also i have this question: If the price was right, would you rather have a 1 year rental of Bagwell or Hatteberg waiting for joey Votto???

Chip R
11-01-2006, 11:09 AM
also i have this question: If the price was right, would you rather have a 1 year rental of Bagwell or Hatteberg waiting for joey Votto???

Bagwell is finished.

zombie-a-go-go
11-01-2006, 11:22 AM
I think the FO wants Aurilia back for something like what he was paid this season to man 2B, and only then do they start seriously considering Brandon @ SS. If Richie won't come back, Brandon stays @ 2B and they try to fill the SS position w/ someone outside the organization.

Chip R
11-01-2006, 02:58 PM
If Richie won't come back, Brandon stays @ 2B and they try to fill the SS position w/ someone outside the organization.


Or they could stay inside the organization. Seems they traded for a SS last year. (ducks)

TeamSelig
11-01-2006, 02:59 PM
I think it would be best to send him to SS and acquire a 2B. 2B are easier to get and also cheaper.

savafan
11-01-2006, 03:01 PM
Bagwell is finished.

Seems like everybody knows this but him.

Handofdeath
11-01-2006, 04:28 PM
I think it would be best to send him to SS and acquire a 2B. 2B are easier to get and also cheaper.

The problem is Brandon Phillips is not a very good fielder right now. In the Majors this past season at 2B he was:

20th in Fielding Percentage
12th in Range Factor
2nd in Errors
15th in Double Plays
20th in Assists.

Why move him to a tougher fielding position when he can't field very well at the one he already is at? If the Reds thought for a moment that Phillips could handle SS, why trade for Gil? Why would they sign Castro to a two year contract? Brandon Phillips has a lot of promise but if you put him out there at SS for a full season, he'll get killed. He's staying at 2B.

Chip R
11-01-2006, 04:48 PM
Seems like everybody knows this but him.


Yeah. What was his buyout, $7M or something like that? Bet the Astros rue the day they signed him to that deal. He basically hasn't contributed a thing to them for 2 years.

TeamSelig
11-01-2006, 05:09 PM
Fielding stats have little merit.

Low amount of DPs & assists... hmm, how many ground ball pitchers do we have?

Jerry Gil was acquired as a back up / bench player IMO and the same goes for Juan Castro.

Sorry but I think BP is moving to second, and will do well.

camisadelgolf
11-01-2006, 05:19 PM
I personally believe that they are still open to the idea, but they first want to see what's available on the free agent/trade market before making an official announcement, so in the meantime, they'll keep things status quo. If they announce that he's moving to shortstop and then find out that a good shortstop can be had a great price, then they would have to back out on their decision, which is a bad P.R. move.

M2
11-01-2006, 05:21 PM
The problem is Brandon Phillips is not a very good fielder right now. In the Majors this past season at 2B he was:

20th in Fielding Percentage
12th in Range Factor
2nd in Errors
15th in Double Plays
20th in Assists.

Why move him to a tougher fielding position when he can't field very well at the one he already is at? If the Reds thought for a moment that Phillips could handle SS, why trade for Gil? Why would they sign Castro to a two year contract? Brandon Phillips has a lot of promise but if you put him out there at SS for a full season, he'll get killed. He's staying at 2B.

Well, I'd argue those aren't exactly apples to apples stat comparisons. For instance, those RF, DP and assists numbers could be very good dependent on how many GBs his pitchers induced and who else he played with on the IF.

What the apples to apples numbers have shown (and it jibes with what a lot of folks seem to have picked up from watching him) is that Phillips is a solid 2B. He wasn't great last year, but he was better than average. Seeing that it was his first full season in the majors, that's encouraging.

Yet I don't agree with moving him over to SS and it's got nothing to do with Gil, who's little more than minor league fodder (the new Aaron Herr if you will).

A) A solid 2B usually makes for a below average SS. Phillips' SS ceiling is probably a hair above average.

B) Phillips spent a lot of years trying to find his comfort zone on the baseball field. He found it last season as a 2B. I don't consider him a "proven" player just yet and I'd rather not see the Reds mess him up with a position switch.

C) And this gets back to point A, Phillips and some middling-to-cruddy 2B doesn't give you a good defense, which it would seem to me should be the team's aim. Phillips at 2B and a good SS to pair with him would give the Reds the kind of higher quality keystone we Reds fans have spent most of our lives watching.

D) I don't think the Reds can successfully get ahead until they do the hard things involved with team building. One of the main flaws with the Reds management in this century has been its unwillingness to tackle the hard things first. Get those out of the way and you're in good shape. Ignore them and you're never really all that close to being a viable contender.

lollipopcurve
11-01-2006, 05:36 PM
A) A solid 2B usually makes for a below average SS. Phillips' SS ceiling is probably a hair above average.

B) Phillips spent a lot of years trying to find his comfort zone on the baseball field. He found it last season as a 2B. I don't consider him a "proven" player just yet and I'd rather not see the Reds mess him up with a position switch.

C) And this gets back to point A, Phillips and some middling-to-cruddy 2B doesn't give you a good defense, which it would seem to me should be the team's aim. Phillips at 2B and a good SS to pair with him would give the Reds the kind of higher quality keystone we Reds fans have spent most of our lives watching.

I agree with this assessment. Keep Phillips at 2B.

Superdude
11-01-2006, 05:41 PM
Phillips has played shortstop almost his entire career prior to last season and I think I heard Chris Welsh saying Phillips was scraping 93MPH on the gun in high school, so how bad can he be? It's not like we're asking EdE to play short. Phillips might be just as comfortable, if not more comfortable their. Even if he's not the next Ozzie Smith, it would at least make things much easier on the front office.

BRM
11-01-2006, 05:44 PM
I agree with this assessment. Keep Phillips at 2B.

I also agree...as long as leaving Phillips at 2B doesn't make Juan Castro the de facto starting SS.

RedsManRick
11-01-2006, 06:24 PM
I agree that Phillips probably won't be a great defensive SS and that the Reds would be good to improve their middle infield defense. Unfortunately, short of a trade, the only options which improve our MI defense, hurt our MI offensive production. The best SS option in FA right now is Craig Counsell, who is 36 years old and put up a .674 OPS last year. I honestly believe, that short a major trade, the best move for the Reds for next year, to maximize both run creation and prevention, is Phillips at SS and Freel at 2B.

There simply aren't difference makers out there right now even remotely close to our price range (Lugo is not an option for us). If you can get Counsell for a million bucks to play SS next year, fine. But there is no long terms solution available in FA.

M2
11-01-2006, 06:41 PM
But there is no long terms solution available in FA.

Agreed. There's very little available in the FA market at any position this offseason.

For me, though, it just underscores how vital it is for Krvisky to put on his trading shoes. IMO, it's the only way forward for this franchise.

Redsfan08
11-01-2006, 07:41 PM
I want him to stay at 2b give olmedo playing time

markymark69
11-01-2006, 07:43 PM
Personally I would keep him at second base. Leave well enough alone. Other than the couple of games he played at SS in September, it's been a while since he's played there.

That being said. I would not rule out his move to SS. I think it all depends on what the Reds can get via trade or free agency and if they want to commit to either Freel or Aurilia at second base.

mth123
11-01-2006, 09:03 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone. A few thoughts:

1. I am glad to hear that some think that the Reds are still open to it. I guess I've gotten the impression that it was not an option because of WK comments and the quick hook he seemed to get at the end of last year when he was going to play SS for a while to see how he could do.

2. I agree with those who think that Phillips will be a better 2B than he will a SS. Couldn't you say that about any SS? If Phillips projects to slightly above average Defensively at SS, then the Reds are better with Phillips and Freel than Phillips at 2B and anything the team could acquire right now.

3. I really think Freel is the other big factor. If Phillips is at 2B and EE at 3B then Freel's IF days are over. He goes from a quite valuable supersub who can play in lots of spots and still contribute on offense to a dime a dozen 4th OF who doesn't really have the power to play exclusively in the OF.. Freel's offense plays better at 2B and Phillips offense plays better at SS. If the defense is better than average at SS then I don't see why not. This also makes a spot for Harris to play part time. The Reds traded a few big pieces in the deal that brought him. He needs to have some role if for no other reason than to build his trade value a little.

5. Most of Phillips skills play well on either side of 2B. The big difference between 2B and SS is the need for arm strength and more RH Hitters making more frequent plays for SS. 2B needs to be able to pivot on the DP. Phillips wasn't really good at the pivot and unless I missed something he has the arm. The other skills are needed in either spot IMO. We may be surprised and find him better at SS than at 2B because he won't have to do the thing he was least accomplished at which is the pivot on the DP.

6. If Phillips fails at SS he can always be moved back to 2B. One school of thought is playing 2B "shortens" your arm and you don't really get it back to be able to move back to SS after a while. If that is remotely true then Phillips needs to be tried at SS now rather than later. Moving SS to 2B easier than moving from extended time at 2B to SS. The longer he stays at 2B, the less likely he'll ever be a decent SS. I remember Ron Oester saying this happened to him and I remember how concerned he was that the Reds may do damage to Pokey Reese by playing him at 2B. Not sure how true it is.

M2
11-02-2006, 01:06 AM
I remember Ron Oester saying this happened to him and I remember how concerned he was that the Reds may do damage to Pokey Reese by playing him at 2B. Not sure how true it is.

Got to love the wisdom of OESTER! All that move to 2B did for Pokey was make his career. Best defender I've ever seen at that position.

On the other stuff, my view is lesser players need to move to accommodate better players. If the Reds have a better 2B than Brandon Phillips, then by all means try Phillips at SS. If they don't, then it seems to me what they should be doing is looking for a SS.

wheels
11-02-2006, 01:51 AM
I want him to stay at 2b give olmedo playing time


Wow....Seriously?

What do you like about Olmedo?

mth123
11-02-2006, 06:10 AM
Got to love the wisdom of OESTER! All that move to 2B did for Pokey was make his career. Best defender I've ever seen at that position.

On the other stuff, my view is lesser players need to move to accommodate better players. If the Reds have a better 2B than Brandon Phillips, then by all means try Phillips at SS. If they don't, then it seems to me what they should be doing is looking for a SS.

I guess I am just throwing this out for discussion and I'm not super passionate about it, but this is an answer to the SS problem that won't involve a huge overpayment in talent, $ or both. Its not the only answer but my biggest offseason concern is that a major player like Dunn, Votto, Bailey or Arroyo will be dealt for a hole plugger at SS. If the Reds can get a core talent in return that happens to play SS then OK. But we saw what happened when the Reds tried to plug a hole in the bullpen. I would like the Phillips option to stay on the table as a viable one if for no other reason than to allow the Reds to be choosey in what they do here. The Reds need to prevent the themselves from making another major mistake out of desparation to plug a hole. Get a guy with upside on the cheap, leave Phillips at 2b and give the guy a chance thats ok too. If the guy fails though, the Phillips to SS needs to at least be a fallback plan.

Also From the Reds standpoint, I like Phillips but don't consider him essential as a talent (but due to him being the only starting caliber MI right now he may be essential due to circumstance). If the Reds want to maximize the value of their assets IMO:

1. Phillips is probably more valuable as an above average SS than as a top defensive 2B. SS are much harder to find (see this years talent pool) and I'm not convinced that he will be a top defensive 2B unless he gets a lot better at the DP (and he probably will improve).
2. Freel is way more valuable with IF on his resume than as a 4th OF. If he isn't going to get IF time he needs to be cashed-in IMO while the return will be decent.
3. Harris would have more value with some playing time spotting for Freel a few days when Freel rests or plays another position. I admit, that this is only a by-product and not a real objective though in any move that is made.

That is 3 current assets whose value is improved either to the Reds or on the trade market. This is the crux of my disagreement is with the "lesser players need to move to accommodate better players" statement. That almost sounds like Griffey speak. I think players need to move that maximize the overall picture.

As for Pokey, the move to 2B did make his career, but he did have a HOF caliber guy in front of him. We don't know what would have happened had he stayed at SS in another situation. No one is blocking Phillips and there are other options for 2B. I also wouldn't dismiss the entire "shorten your arm" thinking either. A guy who is out there doing it everyday would have some knowledge. Oester is no genious but he was a fine defensive SS who made the move to 2B. Its not like he was a guy who played in another spot and doesn't have first hand knowledge.

Phillips can be moved later if need be.

camisadelgolf
11-02-2006, 09:15 AM
Wow....Seriously?

What do you like about Olmedo?

His reputation is -24, if that tells you anything.

dfs
11-02-2006, 11:18 AM
Phillips has played shortstop almost his entire career prior to last season and I think I heard Chris Welsh saying Phillips was scraping 93MPH on the gun in high school, so how bad can he be? It's not like we're asking EdE to play short. Phillips might be just as comfortable, if not more comfortable their. Even if he's not the next Ozzie Smith, it would at least make things much easier on the front office.
Right. Phillips was an uberprospect shortstop who by all accounts was able to handle the fielding at that position just fine.

FWIW I think Edwin has the range to play shortstop. Now...there are other problems, but he would get to balls.


Agreed. There's very little available in the FA market at any position this offseason.

Guys who have already declared as free agents who could handle second base...Durham, Gomez, Rich A, Valentin, Walker, DeRosa and Soriano. There is some depth at second base. On the other hand, the only way I can see them getting a starting shortsop would be via trade.

I find it very hard to believe that the reds see Olmedo as a starter.

Likewise the last couple of years the most obvious thing the reds could have done would have been hand Freel a starting position in the infield. Instead the brought in Randa to play third two years ago and several guys to play second last year. They simply don't see Freel as a starter in the infield. Heck they put Rich "I'm a statue" Aurilia all around the infield and kept Farney in the outfield.

Handofdeath
11-02-2006, 12:12 PM
Agreed. There's very little available in the FA market at any position this offseason.

For me, though, it just underscores how vital it is for Krvisky to put on his trading shoes. IMO, it's the only way forward for this franchise.

I agree to a point. But if the Reds are really going to go forward they are going to have improve their scouting and develop the minor league system. Two areas that have been ignored for too long. Trying to fill needs with players that other teams don't want or need is not the way to build a franchise for the future.

blumj
11-02-2006, 01:08 PM
As for Pokey, the move to 2B did make his career, but he did have a HOF caliber guy in front of him. We don't know what would have happened had he stayed at SS in another situation.

Pokey played a lot of SS in '04, probably more than he did 2B. If he'd lost much from playing mostly 2B for years prior to that, it sure didn't show. Unless he'd had a very, very strong arm before the switch.