Brandon Phillips is not the player he once was, and his departure from the Cincinnati Reds would likely not have a dramatically deleterious impact on their overall competitiveness in 2016. Which is to say, should Phillips leave the NL Central, the relative impact to the Cubs’ chances to win an extra game or two in their unbalanced schedule is not enormous.
If he heads to another NL contender, though? One that could stand to add a second baseman? Well, maybe the combined effect moves the needle slightly.
Plus there’s the ongoing Reds rebuild, which will eventually be quite important to the Cubs and the rest of the NL Central.
That’s my long way of saying: the Reds and Nationals are reportedly in talks about a Phillips trade (Ken Rosenthal), and that is mildly relevant. Phillips would have to waive his no-trade clause to make a deal happen, but with his old manager now heading up the Nationals, perhaps he’d be willing.
Phillips, now 34, is owed $27 million over the next two years, actually put together a decent year in 2015, posting a 96 wRC+ and solid defense, yielding a 2.6 WAR.