The Cincinnati Reds came into the off-season looking to move Brandon Phillips and check Zack Cozart’s value.
The Cincinnati Reds’ top off-season priority was finding a new home for second baseman Brandon Phillips. They had a trade set to send Phillips to the Atlanta Braves, but he blocked that deal. Since that time he has hinted that he would accept a deal to Southern California.
Meanwhile, the team has been asking around about Zack Cozart, but no action is expected there until mid-season. The only team actively seeking a new starting shortstop was the Seattle Mariners who acquired Jean Segura from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Baltimore Orioles showed some interest in the weak free agent market, but seems set entering the season.
Cozart is a stopgap defensive middle infielder as a starter or a bench player for a pennant chasing team. Any team that has an in-season injury or needs a veteran bench player could get into the deal. The Reds should have a good idea of the baseline that teams are willing to pay for the Reds’ starting shortstop.
On the Phillips front, he keeps mentioning that certain known requirements are necessary for him to waive his no trade clause. He says that it is principle, but, in not sharing this with the fans, he appears selfish and ungrateful to the fans of the Reds. He has blocked trades to three teams that appeared to be contenders, instead choosing to stay with the rebuilding Reds.
The transition from Cozart and Phillips to Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera is the last step of the rebuild.
Only four players remain from the Reds’ first National League Central title under Dusty Baker: Cozart, Phillips, Homer Bailey, and Joey Votto. Bailey may be traded if he can show that he is finally healthy. The Reds view Votto as the possible link from one generation to the next.
It seems like a long process to rebuild, but 2017 is only year three of the intentional rebuild. In 2014 the Reds rolled the dice that they had one more season left after they let Bronson Arroyo and Dusty Baker walk. They were wrong.
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Peraza and Herrera will get their chance to be the next generation of double play partners. Then the fans can see the fruition of a couple of years of bad baseball. Whatever Phillips wants to leave Cincinnati, he should announce to the city. Phillips was once a favorite player. He has become a symbol to Reds’ fans of veterans who don’t know when to move on.