January 9, 2017
Phillips vetoes trade to Atlanta
Brandon Phillips exercised his 10-and-5 rights to block a deal that would have sent him to the Braves this past November, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal. It’s the third time Phillips has utilized his 10-and-5 rights in the past two years, including two vetoed trades to the Diamondbacks and Nationals during the 2015 offseason, and it appears he’s not ready to leave Cincinnati just yet.
While ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden acknowledged that the Braves could still make a play for the second baseman, it seems unlikely given their recent acquisition of infielder Sean Rodriguez. Notwithstanding the potential snag at second base, a trade could be beneficial for the Reds, who would shoulder the bulk of Phillips’ $14 million contract in 2017 but gain a roster spot for prospect Jose Peraza. Bowden adds that there may be some underlying issues between the second baseman and club executives, saying that Reds’ higher-ups admitted “they made promises and assurances to Phillips that they are not living up to and will have to work through … before a deal can be consummated.”
Whether those promises and assurances revolve around Phillips’ full no-trade clause or stem from undisclosed issues is unclear, but the veteran infielder’s loyalty to the club is not. Still, the 35-year-old could conceivably benefit from a trade to the ever so slightly more competitive Braves, even if it means taking on a part-time role as he eyes free agency in 2017.
Royals, Braves, and Athletics want Plouffe
A flurry of interest surrounds third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who has been linked to the Royals, Braves and Athletics in the past week. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo also name-dropped the Red Sox as potential suitors, but noted that they’re still committed to Pablo Sandoval in a starting role and may have limited space on their roster moving forward. In a similar vein, the Royals are likely to make a play for Plouffe only if they find someone to take on third baseman Mike Moustakas, another infielder whose trade market has been slow to develop this offseason.
The Athletics, meanwhile, could find value in Plouffe’s versatility around the horn and in the outfield, though they’re also rumored to be keeping tabs on Mark Trumbo these days. Plouffe is undoubtedly the more affordable of the two, but comes with a .241 TAv and 12 home runs that are juuuuust a smidgen shy of Trumbo’s .276 TAv and 47 homers in 2016.
The Braves do not appear to share the A’s interest in Trumbo, whose price tag has already kept a few teams at bay, but they have reportedly been shopping for utility infielders as the offseason wears on. In addition to Plouffe, Cafardo links both the Braves and Royals to fellow free agent Aaron Hill. Hill ended his 2016 season with a .262 average and 1.5 WARP for the Red Sox and Brewers, the bulk of which was delivered during his 78-game stint in Milwaukee.
Wilson gears up for pitching showcase
Veteran left-hander C.J. Wilson could throw for interested clubs as soon as February, according to a new report from Ken Rosenthal. The 36-year-old underwent surgery to repair his labrum and rotator cuff last July and missed the second half of the 2016 season as a result. Per Rosenthal’s report, he started throwing again late last year and could compete for a rotation spot if he manages to pick up a contract by spring training.
His chronic shoulder and elbow issues pose some concerns; since the start of the 2014 season he’s missed a total of 321 days due to various injuries and surgeries and hasn’t taken the mound since July of 2015. Still, the 3.87 ERA and 9.9 WARP he accumulated during his four-year tenure with the Angels still holds some appeal, and a short-term deal shouldn’t be completely out of reach for the lefty. So far only the Marlins have kicked the tires on Wilson, though Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors points out that their interest is likely to wane since adding Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke to the rotation last month.