"Dat Dude" really isn't all that anymore. Now, he did top a .290 batting average for a second straight season and again reached double digits in both home runs and stolen bases, but even so, he finished outside the top 15 fantasy second basemen. He grows more impatient at the dish with each passing season: his walk rate fell to just 3.1 percent in 2016 and his chase rate leaped to a career-high 41.7 percent. His 92 wRC+ for the season ranked 122nd among qualified hitters (out of 146), and for the first time in a long time, Brandon Phillips graded out as a net negative in the field. The Reds finally managed to deal the veteran to Atlanta, where Phillips will fortunately get the opportunity to play everyday. However, the Braves might hand the reins over to Ozzie Albies later in the seaon, which could lead to fewer opportunities for the aging second baseman. Between this and further skills regression with age could result in Phillips losing 15-team mixed-league relevance. Invest at your own risk.
Phillips went 2-for-2 with a solo home run, his first blast of the spring, in Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets. He's now slashing .389/.522/.611 through his first 18 at-bats this spring, and the long-time Red seems to be adjusting to a Braves uniform nicely. Phillips will turn 36 just before the All-Star break, but he seems more than capable of supplying another season with double-digit homers and steals in 2017.
Phillips went 2-for-3 with a run scored in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Phillies. The veteran is now hitting .313 (5-for-16) to begin the spring, and appears just about ready for Opening Day. Prospect Ozzie Albies is nipping at his heels for the starting second base job, but the 35-year-old Phillips won't give up his spot easily after hitting better than .290 for the second straight season in 2016.
Phillips is hitting sixth Saturday in the Braves' Grapefruit League opener, as manager Brian Snitker gives a sneak peek at his Opening Day lineup, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The 35-year-old managed 64 RBI last season for the Reds, and should be in a good spot to at least match that production hitting behind Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis in the Braves' order. Phillips may be on the tail end of his career, but he's shown no signs yet of falling off a cliff at the plate, making him a solid (if not very sexy from an upside perspective) fantasy middle infield option.
The Reds agreed Sunday to trade Phillips to the Braves, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports. The deal isn't expected to be officially announced until Monday, but Phillips, 35, will head to Atlanta in exchange for two marginal prospects, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. The Reds have engaged with several teams in trade talks about Phillips the past couple of seasons in an attempt to clear second base for promising prospects Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera, but it took a potential move to his hometown team before the veteran agreed to waive the no-trade clause. The Reds are expected to cover most of what remains on the final season of Phillips' six-year, $72.5 million contract. With the Braves, Phillips could push Jace Peterson for starting duties at the keystone, but at the very least, he'll make for a serviceable backup with Sean Rodriguez potentially needing shoulder surgery following complications from a January car accident, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
Phillips is close to being acquired by the Braves, Ken Rosenthal of FOX reports. Phillips, who turned down a previous trade proposal this offseason, has reportedly waived his no-trade clause, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, so this trade looks like it's on the verge of happening.