The Cincinnati Reds have downplayed the prospect of trading Brandon Phillips, though teams around the league seem to think that the second baseman is available. After the New York Yankees lost Robinson Cano in free agency, a report indicated that Brian Cashman had inquired about Phillips but that the price was too steep.
Despite the trade rumors, Reds GM Walt Jocketty has stated publicly that he has not engaged in trade talks with any other team regarding Phillips. So where did the report about New York come from? According to Jocketty, the Yankees planted it for Cano leverage.
Walt says Yankees leaked info that they called him about BP as a negotiating tactic with Cano #RedsFest
— ctrent (@ctrent) December 7, 2013
In other words, Jocketty is claiming the Yankees wanted Cano to think they had a backup plan in place and thus were not desperate to bring him back. They certainly weren’t desperate, but it remains to be seen if they have a viable plan B or if Phillips is a possibility.
The 33-year old Phillips has four years and $50 million remaining on his contract. He still has some pop left in his bat and drove in a career-high 103 runs last season. New York certainly has money to spend after letting Cano walk. Time will tell if Jocketty is telling the truth or just avoiding a media frenzy.
H/T Eye on Baseball