Brandon Phillips: $72.5 million contract from Cincinnati Reds a ‘slap in the face’
Brandon Phillips signed a six-year, $72.5 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds last April that should keep him with the team for the remainder of his career. Most players would kill to receive that kind of financial stability, but the context in which Phillips agreed to the extension has left him with a foul taste in his mouth.
In a recent interview with Cincinnati Magazine, Phillips said the fact that Joey Votto was given a 10-year, $225 million contract from the Reds makes the $72.5 million he received feel like a “slap in the face.”
“I just feel like they didn’t have to sign Joey to that contract,” Phillips said. “He still had two more years on his. And for (the front office) to go out there and sign him before they sign me, and they knew I was going to be a free agent? I understand Joey’s a good player. He’s one of the best players in this game. But I feel like I am too. I told them that this is where I wanted to be. I begged them. I told everybody I want to finish my career here. And then they give someone a contract who didn’t ask for nothing?
“To this day, I’m still hurt. Well, I don’t wanna say hurt. I’ll say scarred. I’m still scarred. It just sucks that it happened. For (Castellini) to sign somebody for $200 million, there must be a new vegetable or fruit coming out that we don’t know about. For him to do something like that and tell me they didn’t have any more money, that’s a lie. But what can I do? I just feel like it was a slap in my face … But how can someone slap you in the face with all that money. It’s a nice slap in the face.”
Here’s the thing I don’t get — Phillips signed his extension five days after the Reds agreed to a megadeal with Votto. If it was such an insult and he thought he deserved more, why didn’t he just play out his contract and move on? I could understand if they told him they had no money and then signed Votto after the fact, but it was the other way around.
When asked about Phillips’ comments, Votto took the high road.
“Brandon’s a teammate I’ve played with six, seven years now and I love playing with him,” he told C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I really have an immense amount of respect for him. Those comments have nothing to do with me. It doesn’t change a single thing, it makes me like him more, to be honest with you.”
Phillips has been one of the best second basemen in baseball for several years, but he is three years older than Votto at age 32. Votto is a career .317 hitter in the middle of his prime, and the Reds obviously felt he is as good a franchise player as you’ll find. If Phillips was so offended by the offer, he should have never signed the contract. Complaining about it a year later makes him sound ridiculous.
H/T Big League Stew