Brandon Phillips will be the Cincinnati Reds' starting second baseman this season if he's still with the team, something that is looking likelier after the veteran has vetoed two potential trades this offseason.
"It looks like Brandon is with us. Brandon, for me, is a second baseman of tremendous value and talent. It's hard to just assign someone else that job," manager Bryan Price said Sunday during a stop on the team's caravan, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "If Brandon's with us, I expect him to be playing second base."
Phillips, 35, has vetoed trades to the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks this offseason, in both cases asking for more money to accept the trades. He is owed $27 million over the final two seasons of his contract and has the right to veto trades due to his 10 years of service time in the majors, and at least five with the same team.
The Nationals and Diamondbacks both went on to address their needs at second base in other ways. Washington signed Daniel Murphy to a multiyear contract and Arizona traded second baseman Aaron Hill to the Milwaukee Brewers to acquire shortstop Jean Segura in a multiplayer deal. Chris Owings, 24, is expected to take over the second base job for Arizona this season.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty indicated Sunday that he isn't engaged in any current trade discussions regarding Phillips, who hit .294 with 12 home runs and 70 RBIs last season.
"I haven't had any discussions since the Arizona thing and he didn't accept that one," Jocketty said, according to the newspaper.
Jocketty said last week during the team's caravan that prospect Jose Peraza could push Phillips for playing time at second base this season, but Price said Sunday that he considers that unlikely.
"I think the thing is, we want this kid [Peraza] to play and play as much as possible. Everyone knows what's out there. There's no secret that there was an effort to trade Brandon this offseason, so there's no reason for me to beat around the bush about that, that's a fact," he told the newspaper.
"The truth of the matter is, he's here, he wants to remain with the Reds. I just don't, at this point in time, see him as a bench player."