The Reds just traded one of the faces of their organization for what basically amounts to a bag of dill flavored sunflower seeds.
Brandon Phillips has been shipped to Atlanta for left-handed pitcher Andrew McKirahan and right-hander Carlos Portuondo, both of whom probably aren’t big league arms on any team worth a damn. This is not surprising, because the Reds have had no leverage in this situation for the past few years. Philips has been involved in trade rumors for a while, but the completion of any trade always hindered on Brandon’s no-trade clause.
In reality, the only thing the Reds are gaining in this trade is room. Room for their young players to come up to the highest level and compete before the team is ready to be relevant again. Two players in particular, Dilson Herrera and Jose Peraza, will be granted more playing time as they head into what should be prime develop years (both are only 22).
It would be different if Brandon Philips was actually as good as the average fan thinks he is. He hasn’t been an all star for three seasons and struggles to maintain an OBP of .320. The only reason his OPS was a league-average .736 last season was because he hit .291. I’d actually argue that’s still pretty damn good for a 35 year old player who wields a good glove. His 0.8 WAR was the lowest of his career…but again, 35. It’s not his fault the Reds gave him a ridiculous 10-year contract that is just now approaching its final season.
Cincinnati is very much in a self-evaluation mode. They need to see what assets they have and what assets they need before moving to the next step of rebuilding the organization. The best way to get a feel for what players can do in the Majors is to have them playing in the Majors. At least while the team is going to be bad.