Brandon Phillips is the subject of a feature article in the upcoming issue of Cincinnati Magazine. It was a decent article, but there was a section of it that really rubbed me the wrong way:
“I just feel like they didn’t have to sign Joey to that contract. He still had two more years on his,” says Phillips. “And for [the front office] to go out there and sign him before they sign me, and they knew I was going to be a free agent?” Phillips shakes his head. “I understand Joey’s a good player. He’s one of the best players in this game. But I feel like I am too. I told them that this is where I wanted to be. I begged them. I told everybody I want to finish my career here. And then they give someone a contract who didn’t ask for nothing?”
With Phillips hoping to garner a deal in the range of the league’s highest paid second basemen, the numbers weren’t adding up. Rumors were beginning to swirl about Phillips being used as a trade asset later in the season. Quietly, the Reds front office offered him six years for $72.5 million. Phillips says that Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty and team owner Bob Castellini—chairman of Castellini Co., the billion-dollar national produce distributor—made clear it was all the team could offer. Phillips swallowed his pride and signed the deal, though he clearly hasn’t forgotten what he perceived as a slight.
“To this day, I’m still hurt. Well, I don’t wanna say hurt. I’ll say scarred. I’m still scarred. It just sucks that it happened,” he says. “For [Castellini] to sign somebody for $200 million, there must be a new vegetable or fruit coming out that we don’t know about. For him to do something like that and tell me they didn’t have any more money, that’s a lie. But what can I do? I just feel like it was a slap in my face.”
I love Brandon Phillips. He's always been one of my favorite players because of his style of play, but it seems that his ego is coming out again. The Reds need to focus on playing good baseball right now, rather than be distracted by the drama these types of comments tend to stir up.