I think the age decline is being overblown. He was playing better than ever up until the injuries. At some point he'll be old, but I would be surprised if BP didn't bounce back to his career norms at least for the next year or so.
What I'd love to see is for the Reds to keep Phillips and build a better bench so that he can rest more. Ideally you keep Phillips, upgrade at SS and have Cozart as the super-sub.
He will have 10/5 rights after this season. Any interest the Reds have in trading him, pretty much has to be done this offseason.
He can dictate where or even if he gets traded after this year, which would, for all intents and purposes, kill the Reds leverage.
Hanging on to him this offseason would likely make him a Red until the end of his contract.
The 'decline' is illusory because 2011 was a career year and 2013 was injury driven. That's two unreliable data points out of three...not a trend. I wouldn't be surprised to see some decline, but that's based on his age and similar players, not his past 3 years which offers little evidence one way or another. I say .750.
I just can't see how things will go well if he is not traded after all the rumors. I'm not going to complain if he is still here though, and performs on the field.
If we are just going offensively, I could see a case where he is the fourth or even fifth best on the team. I would have Votto/Bruce for sure(as I'm guessing you would too), but Frazier was close numbers wise this season, and if he rebounds closer to 2012, then he might be a better offensive weapon than Phillips. If Ludwick has one more offensive swan song in him, then he too might be more valuable than Phillips. I'm also still a believer in Mesoraco, and who knows what he can do, if he breaks out.
That said, I could very easily see Phillips as the Reds third best offensive player. I just hope all the negativity would be cleared away, with everyone hoping for a fresh start.
I don't know if this article explains his career winding down, or is just circumstantial.
Brandon Phillips is reportedly on the trading block, with the Reds second baseman being mentioned as a possible replacement for the Yankees should free agent Robinson Cano cash in elsewhere. Phillips is coming off a 2013 campaign in which he drove in a career-high 103 runs, ranking second to Cano among all players at the keystone spot and trailing only Joe Morgan (111 RBI in 1976) on the single-season list for a Reds second baseman.
Phillips, owed $50 million over the next four years, remains a slick fielder. But any club thinking about trading for him has to consider whether he can reverse a three-year decline at the plate that has seen his adjusted OPS dip from excellent (118 OPS+ in 2011) to average (99 OPS+) to subpar. To do that, the 32-year-old will have to start turning on fastballs once again.
Phillips slugged .528 versus fastballs in 2011, topping the major league average by nearly 100 points. That figure dipped a bit in 2012 (.482) and then plummeted to .393 in 2013. You might think his power outage against the heat is the product of his hitting more ground balls, but Phillips actually hit more fly balls and line drives in 2013 than in the previous few seasons. It's just that the fastballs he lofted didn't travel as far: Phillips' fly balls and liners carried an average of 257 feet this past year, compared to 271 feet in 2011.
Interesting numbers, PepperJack. Hard to know how to read them. The easy way might be to attribute the seeming decline to age, but it might also mean his injury was more significant than we may have been thinking.