Tag:Brandon Phillips
Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Defense costing teams early

Aubrey Huff

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sunday afternoon the sight of Aubrey Huff diving in right field was a joking matter. The night before he made a diving catch and then before batting practice his teammates put a faux-chalk outline of his dive in the Dodger Stadium grass.

A couple of hours later, it wasn't so funny.

In the first inning on Sunday, Huff dove on a Jamey Carroll liner which ended up a triple and helped the Dodgers score three in the inning. In the seventh inning, Huff also lost a ball over his head by Marcus Thames, good for another triple and driving in the go-ahead run.

One scout told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that the Giants defense is "going to be an issue."

The Giants made their decision leaving camp that their defense would be secondary to scoring runs, as the team kept rookie first baseman Brandon Belt on the roster -- and it's not Belt that's the problem, he's a good defender. It's that in order to keep Huff and Belt in the lineup, Huff went to right field. And as right fielder's go, he's showing he's a first baseman.

I don't actually fault Huff, he's going out there and giving it his best and doing what the team asks him to do -- ultimately, it's just a flawed strategy putting Huff in the outfield. When Cody Ross is ready to come off the disabled list -- which is still at least two weeks away -- the Giants will be better at that spot, but they'll also have a decision between Belt and Huff -- or benching Pat Burrell and keeping Huff in the outfield. That said, the Giants will still have Miguel Tejada at shortstop.

But it's not just the Giants that are struggling defensively.

RangersThe Giants' World Series opponents last fall started off their season with a fielding error on the first batter of the season when Julio Borbon ran into Nelson Cruz.

The Cardinals seemed to be one team unconcerned about defense this offseason and could be concerned as the season goes along. The team added 35-year-old Lance Berkman, who hadn't played in the outfield since since 2007, to play every day in right field and got rid of one of baseball's best defensive shortstops, Brendan Ryan, and replaced him with an average second baseman in Ryan Theriot.

Theriot is the only National League player with two errors through Sunday's game, while in the American League one notoriously bad fielder (Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion) and one remarkably good fielder (Oakland's Daric Barton) have three errors each. 

There have been 68 errors this season through 46 games (following Sunday's games). That's only one more error than there was through 46 games last season (and 15 more than there was through 46 games in 2009).

That said, we all know errors aren't the best way to measure defense, there are plenty of examples of bad defense that didn't include an error in the boxscore.

On Sunday, the Cubs' defense let down closer Carlos Marmol. With one out and runners at second and third, Pedro Alvarez hit a dribbler to shortstop Starlin Castro who unloaded a bad throw to first, allowing two runs to score and the Pirates to get the win.

Milwaukee's Casey McGehee has had two costly decisions in the team's sweep at the hands of the Reds. In the ninth inning of Thursday's opener, McGehee failed to tag Brandon Phillips going to third, setting up the Reds' walk-off victory. On Sunday, McGehee went home and failed to get an out on a Drew Stubbs chopper, which led to a game-turned three-run homer by Phillips in the fourth. And that's two entire instances of the Brewers' bad defense without mentioning Yuniesky Betancourt, who the team had to take to get Zack Greinke, but didn't have to make their everyday shortstop. According to John Dewan's +/- system, no defensive player in baseball has cost their team more runs over the last three seasons than Betancourt's -66.

David Pinto over at Baseball Musings noted BABIP (batting average on balls in play) over the first weekend was .300, while it was .291 last season. That stat tells you a ball in the field was more likely to be fielded a year ago than it was this weekend.

Now, we're just 47 games into the 2011 season, so it's way too early to make any real conclusions about errors and defense as a whole, but it is something to watch. 

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 11:02 pm
 

Edmonds no fan of Phillips, Reds' doctors

By Matt Snyder

Jim Edmonds ended up playing for four of the six teams in the NL Central, but it seems his heart is only in one place (not that you can blame him, considering his experiences). And just in case you're wondering, that place was definitely not Cincinnati.

On an interview with 590 "The Fan" in St. Louis, Edmonds spoke out against the Reds' doctors and a certain player who called the Cardinals "little bitches" last season. (WLW )

When asked about his foot injury, that has kept him off the field in 2011, Edmonds said, "awful, it's still awful. I still can't do so many things I want to do. It's really frustrating. I don't know the right words to use towards the Cincinnati doctors."

Edmonds also said he basically only accepted the trade to the Reds for Cincy general manager Walt Jocketty, who was the Cards' GM for the majority of the time Edmonds played in St. Louis. He noted he should not have done so and instead simply shut himself down for the season.

He doesn't hate the rest of the Reds, well, except for Brandon Phillips, even though he wouldn't even say his name.

"They have a bunch of good guys ... other than that one situation and that one player." Later he again reiterated, "they are all actually pretty good except that one guy."

Edmonds also noted he wasn't surprised about the Reds' terrible performance in the NLDS, saying the Reds were really "young and really naive" last season.

UPDATE: Phillips has replied on Twitter , saying "Awww! That's so sweet! Trust me, there are so many things I can say about him and y'all would look at him different!"

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 10:02 pm
 

Possible 2011 trade candidates, obvious and not

By Matt Snyder

One of the big reasons preseason predictions are often blown to bits is the number of games played by certain players for certain teams. Major injuries, for example, but also because players end up being traded. Underachieving and overachieving teams end up becoming sellers and buyers, respectively, by the deadline.

There are going to be names already being thrown around in rumors and on fan message boards from the get-go. We'll give you five obvious names sure to appear in trade talks. Then, because it's so much more fun to throw stuff at the wall, we'll dig deeper and find 10 not-so-obvious names that could end up being traded or at least discussed. In those cases, certain things have to happen in order to clear the way for a deal, but those things can't be absolutely outlandish.

Remember, many players have no-trade clauses or are 10-and-5 guys, so every possible deal is contingent upon that. We're just making a list and enjoying it as a fun discussion point.

Let's get it on.

FIVE OBVIOUS TRADE NAMES

Michael Young, Rangers. No explanation needed, really.

Heath Bell, Padres. He wants to stay in San Diego and the Padres might want to try and keep him (without having to pay much long term, of course), but when the market for late-inning relievers gets strong in July and the Padres are well out of the race, he'll be one of the most mentioned names.

Felix Hernandez, Mariners. For now, the Mariners have sworn up and down he's never going anywhere. Even if the team is brutal again this season, it's reasonable to believe the Mariners will immediately hang up the phone any time someone like Brian Cashman says the name Felix. But if they start listening and someone is desperate enough to absolutely bowl them over, it very well might happen. He's in the obvious category because I'm sure people will not stop talking about the possibility. My initial feeling is he ends the season in Seattle, however.

Fausto Carmona, Indians. Remember CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee? Carmona is a big step down, but he's still a starting pitcher on the Indians who is not going to re-sign. He only has a club option left on his contract after 2011. When (not if) teams become desperate to add starting pitching in the race -- Yankees and Cardinals come to mind as candidates, but it could be anyone if unforeseen injuries or ineffectiveness pops up -- teams will come calling for Carmona. That is, of course, assuming he's been productive and the Indians are out of it. And you know the Indians will listen. My prediction is he's the most sure bet on here to be traded.

Grady Sizemore, Indians. Same as Carmona, except Sizemore has tons more upside and tons more downside -- due to injury woes. If he shows he's healthy and the Tribe don't inexplicably stay in the AL Central race, he's gone. Only a 2012 club option remains on his contract after this season.

10 NOT-SO-OBVIOUS NAMES


Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers. He's a free agent at the end of the year and we know about the Dodgers' money woes. As long as they aren't in the midst of the race, some team is going to want to bolster its bullpen. This one is pretty feasible, actually.

Chris Carpenter, Cardinals. As with every player's present team on this list, the Cardinals would have to fall out of contention pretty early. If they did, Carpenter has already said he's not averse to a deal. Plus, he's a free agent after the season and there's some big-name soon-to-be free agent the Cards desperately want to keep.

Francisco Cordero, Reds. Only a '12 club option remains on his contract. What if Cordero loses his closing job to Aroldis Chapman early a la Frank Francisco yielding to Neftali Feliz last year? What if the Reds fall out of contention? Easy to see a chain of events here.

Prince Fielder, Brewers. Least likely candidate on here. The Brewers would have to fall really, really far out of the race. If that did happen, yet he was having a big season, another team might pay enough for him that the Brewers couldn't refuse, especially considering he's a free agent after the season and almost certainly leaving.

Travis Hafner, Indians. He's not obvious like Sizemore and Carmona because Pronk has that pesky $13 million due to him in 2012. Of course, let's give an example of someone that might pay: Say the Yankees are five games behind the Red Sox, Jorge Posada is hurt, Jesus Montero either gets traded for pitching or isn't hitting well in the minors and none of the other spare parts (like Eric Chavez) are working. On the flip-side, Pronk is raking. Would the Yankees make that move? I think they might. His pull power from the left-side would fit well in Yankee Stadium.

Aaron Hill, Blue Jays. The Jays are building a good foundation and a Hill deal would give them some flexibility both financially and defensively. They could move top prospect Brett Lawrie back to second base -- the only position he ever played professionally prior to this spring -- and then use Jose Bautista at third or keep him in the outfield, whatever worked best moving forward with the makeup of the roster. If Hill gets off to a hot start and the Jays don't, I like this move.

Francisco Liriano, Twins. He's here because it's already been rumored and the Twins have the option -- at least for now -- to move Kevin Slowey back into the rotation. As long as the Twins are in the thick of the AL Central, though, which should be all season, I don't see it happening.

Brandon Phillips, Reds. Not as far-fetched as you might think. OK, well, the Reds have to fall far out of the race in the NL Central (which seems incredibly unlikely), but if they do, Phillips is a big candidate to be shipped. He has a club option after the season and will be 30 by the deadline. Plus, his power has declined rather significantly since his breakout 2007 campaign.

Aramis Ramirez, Cubs. It's hard to see a scenario where the Cubs would pick up Ramirez's 2012 option, so this could easily be his last season in Chicago. If he stays healthy, hits like he can and the Cubs are not in the race by mid-July, he'll definitely be available.

Jose Reyes, Mets. A free agent at the end of the year, if Reyes proves he's healthy and produces numbers while the Mets fall behind in the NL East, he's certain to be dealt.

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 10:19 am
 

Pepper: Teixeira ditches Boras



By Matt Snyder


Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has decided to part ways with Scott Boras (seen above during happier times), ending a 12-year relationship with the uber-agent.

"There are a lot of things and no reason to go into details," Teixeira said. "We have been together long enough and time to go in a different direction ... When I hired Scott at 18 to help with career there was talk about free agent contract. At times I was Mark Teixeira, Scott Boras client instead of Mark Teixeira, baseball player." (New York Post )

As a Boras client, Teixeira landed an eight-year, $180 million contract. He still has six years left on that deal, so one could argue he doesn't really need an agent's services too much the next few years. He's going to make $22.5 million in 2016 before becoming a free agent.

Boras also lost Alex Rodriguez as a client earlier this offseason.

It's an interesting query: Why are these guys leaving Boras? Both have plenty of years and money left on their contracts -- incredibly lucrative ones that Boras negotiated. Does it show a lack of loyalty or the players tiring of Boras -- or neither, as it could be just a coincidence?

Here's an enlightening quote on the situation.

Bryan Hoch, the MLB.com beat writer for the Yankees, tweets that "Teixeira said he wants to focus more on helping Yankees win and impact in community, not next contract. Feels Boras isn't best fit for that."

Interesting. So with six years left on a deal, Boras is still talking about the next one? While that's certainly his job, I can see how it would be a bit exhausting. It's not like Tex is going to be in the poor house anytime soon.

DEJA VU: Milton Bradley is swinging a hot bat in the spring. He's had problems with his current manager before (Eric Wedge), but he's learned from his mistakes and is now focused on doing the right things to help the team win. The manager is singing his praises. And it's March 2. We've heard this song and dance before, even if some specifics are different. Maybe one of these days something will change. Until then, history is the biggest indicator of future behavior. After 11 seasons, you don't even need a whole hand to count the number of times a season has ended on a positive note for Bradley. He's going to have to prove otherwise for a full season before getting the benefit of the doubt here. (MLB.com )

LILLY SCRATCHED: Ted Lilly was supposed to make his spring training debut Wednesday, but he's been scratched due to the flu. No long-term worries here whatsoever, though no new date for Lilly's first spring outing has been set. (MLB.com )

TROUBLE ON THE HOME FRONT? There seems to be some signals crossed in Pirates camp when it comes to Scott Olsen. Sunday, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said that Olsen was fighting for the fifth rotation spot and could be sent to the bullpen if he loses out. That was news to Olsen. "He hasn’t told me that, I don’t know anything about the bullpen, I’m a starter," Olsen told the Post-Gazette. "They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy," he continued. "They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it." Um, really? We're talking about a guy with this line in his career as a starting pitcher: 36-49, 4.87 ERA, 1.48 WHIP. In the past two years, he's 6-12 with a 5.76 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. And he apparently thinks he's in a position to make demands? Wow. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

STAYING PUT: Brandon Phillips wants to stay with the Reds. The Reds want to keep him. Of course, in baseball we know we have to deal with much more than that, when it comes to dollars the player feels he's worth and the dollars the smallish market team can pay him -- especially with all the young talent the Reds have on the roster. John Fay breaks down how it might shake out. (Cincinnati Enquirer )

HIATUS? Former Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman has still yet to sign a contract. In fact, he may be ready to sit out an entire season. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports via Twitter that he talked to a player who knows Bonderman and "more than likely he's going to sit this year out." Crasnick also offered that Bonderman "doesn't have the energy for more rehabs, or going to camp and having to fight for a spot." In several ways, it's easy to feel bad for Bonderman. First of all, he was thrown into the fire on the worst major-league team in recent memory as a 20 year old -- that 2003 Tigers team that went 43-119. Bonderman took his lumps all year, going 6-19 with a 5.56 ERA. A few years later, he was a quality pitcher on a team that made the World Series. Since then, he's fallen apart with injuries and has never really scratched the surface on his potential. He's still only 28, so maybe a full season of rest can do some long-term good for his baseball potential. (Crasnick on Twitter )

FRIENDS FOREVER: Barry Bonds' ex-trainer is going to jail, again, instead of testifying against Bonds. Loyalty or blind stupidity? You make the call. (Associated Press )

NO LOANS FOR YOU! The Mets will not be receiving any more loans from Major League Baseball. That cool $25 million from last November will have to do. Maybe the Mets could borrow back some of the money Jason Bay didn't earn last year? (New York Times )

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Cards' rival revels in Wainwright's woes?

Jonny Gomes Brandon Phillips started the fire between the Reds and Cardinals last season, Johnny Cueto stoked it and now Jonny Gomes may just have added another log to the fire.

The Cardinals are bracing for bad news as Adam Wainwright is headed to St. Louis to have his elbow looked at. Most of the world has already jumped to the conclusion that he's going to have to have Tommy John surgery, missing all of this season.

That word certainly reached Arizona, home of last year's National League Central champions. In a world where injuries aren't celebrated, Gomes wasn't hiding his excitement that the Cardinals may not be as strong as they were a season ago due to the loss of their ace.

"Wainwright's gone, Wainwright's gone, Wainwright's gone," Gomes sang "at the top of his warbly voice" as he entered the Reds' clubhouse on Wednesday morning, Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News  writes , adding that the singing was done "joyously." McCoy was the same person who reported Phillips "whiny little bitches" comment last year that led to a brawl. Gomes is 2-for-10 lifetime against Wainright with a homer and a double coming as his two hits.

Reds manager Dusty Baker took the high road, saying, "I hate to see that. He's not only a great pitcher, he seems like a fine young man, too," Baker said, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon . "Every time I've seen him, he's been mannerable, polite and respectful."

That said, Baker notes that it makes his rivals weaker.

"Nobody has the depth to overcome [the loss of] a Wainwright," Baker said, according to McCoy. "You can replace him, but in Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, you're talking two of the top six or seven pitchers in the league. … Philadelphia has most of the other ones."

While Baker did take the high road, he also got in a shot at his critics -- "who are they going to blame for that one?"

UPDATE: Well, this is interesting, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon checks in and says Gomes was not singing about Wainwright, and then called and got a further comment from Gomes, who insisted he was not gloating about the pitcher's injury. Sheldon says he was present when Gomes walked into the clubhouse and the outfielder was singing "You're the Best Around" by Joe Esposito from the original Karate Kid, not, as McCoy wrote, an unidentified tune with the lyrics "Wainwright's gone."

"I was doing an interview with [Rob] Dibble and Dibble gave me the breaking news that Wainwright was flying back to St. Louis with arm problems. That's all I heard. I came in and I said 'is Wainwright gone, is Wainwright gone?'

"To clear up everything, I came up with Wainwright. I know Wainwright. I think he's one of the top notch pitchers in the National League and baseball. Outside of different uniforms that we wear and different cities we play in, playing in the Major Leagues, we're all brothers. There's a brotherhood there. There's one thing you would never wish upon any other player and that's an injury. We've all had them at some point coming up and we might currently be having one now.

"From the bottom of my heart, I would never wish anyone an injury. If they did have an injury, you wish them the best in rehab. As Major League ballplayers, we have a brotherhood for each other. On the field, we're going to battle and play our nine innings and we're going to compete. Off the field, we're still human and we have families. There's one thing you don't wish upon anyone and that is an injury. Even if they are on the other team, you wish them the best of health. If Wainwright is gone, it doesn't mean anything to us. It maybe gives them the opportunity to make a trade for another big ace. The Cardinals are top notch themselves. They've battled with injuries there. They are a top notch organization with a top notch general manager and a top notch ownership."

UPDATE: Another writer on the Reds beat, the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay, checks in with his account of the "incident" and also talks to Gomes, who said he was "mortified" that it was reported he was celebrating Wainwright's injury:

I heard it. I honestly don’t remember exactly what he sang. I didn’t report it because I generally don’t write what players say aloud or sing in the clubhouse. I only use what I get in interviews.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 3, 2010 6:13 pm
 

Reds budget to increase for 2011

The Reds' budget will be "better" than last year's $72 million, general manager Walt Jocketty told CBSSports.com on Wednesday, but because of the team's large number of arbitration-eligible players, he's unsure how much money he has to spend.

"It's hard to predict what those numbers will be," Jocketty said. "We can't commit a lot of dollars right now."

The total budget, Jocketty noted, wouldn't rise dramatically, but will be more than he had for 2010.

He said that was one of the reasons the Reds declined their $4 million option on shortstop Orlando Cabrera, although the team has talked to his agent about returning to the Reds at a lower rate.

Walt Jocketty Jocketty said the team has yet to hear word if outfielder Jay Bruce will qualify as a Super Two, which would also affect the team's bottom line. Bruce, in his second full season, hit .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs and established himself as one of the top defensive right fielders in the game (he was second to Ichiro Suzuki in the Fielding Bible Awards). Jocketty said he expects to hear sometime this month on Bruce's status as a Super Two, though it is expected he will qualify.

Bruce won't get the biggest bump from the arbitration process, though. Likely National League MVP Joey Votto is also eligible for arbitration for the first time. In addition, the Reds have Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Bill Bray, Jared Burton and Laynce Nix as arbitration-eligible players.

If the Reds do have some money to spend, Jocketty said he'd like to find a leadoff man.

We'd like to improve our offense," Jocketty said. "With our pitching, we like our rotation, we like our bullpen. One thing we'd like to improve upon is a leadoff hitter, I don't know that if that's possible or not."

Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs led off for the majority of the 2010 season.

If the team doesn't bring back Cabrera, Jocketty said he feels comfortable  with Paul Janish as the team's everyday shortstop. The Reds went into February with the plan of Janish at short last year before signing Cabrera.

Other notes from Jocketty:

• He said the team had talks with an extension for pitcher Bronson Arroyo, but hadn't reached an agreement yet, so the team picked up his option. Jocketty said they'd still like to get a multi-year deal done before 2011. Arroyo told CBSSports.com earlier today that they were working on a three-year deal.

• Sorry Louisville, Aroldis Chapman won't be back in the minors next year.

"He should be ready for the major leagues now," Jocketty said.

Whether he will be a starter or reliever in 2011, only time will tell. Longterm, the Reds believe Chapman will be a starter.

"Right now, when we get to spring training, if he's better suited for the rotation or the bullpen," Jocketty said. "It's very possible he could be back in the bullpen."

The Reds could have a crowded rotation with Arroyo, Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Mike Leake and Travis Wood.

• Jocketty said he talked to the agent for free agent utility man Migeul Cairo on Wednesday about bringing Cairo back to Cincinnati.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 29, 2010 3:01 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 6:45 am
 

Video: Reds celebrate NL Central title

Edions Volquez It was a rookie mistake, I realized. I'd remembered to wear my rain jacket in the Reds clubhouse after Jay Bruce's homer clinched the team's first division title in 15 years, but I forgot to put my hood up.

I heard Homer Bailey before I saw him, and he doused me with champagne -- the hood would have served as protection and camouflage. Instead, it was useless and I was drenched.

Any baseball writer worth his salt knows to prepare for the celebration. It looks fun -- and it kinda is -- but it makes the usual game-writing impossible. It's tough to talk to players, who are more interested in dousing teammates with alcoholic beverages than talking to reporters. And when they do talk, they're constantly interrupted by liquid being poured over their heads. Still, it's pretty fun to see.

It was nice to see Aaron Harang, who is having a terrible season and is unlikely to be a part of the postseason roster, enjoying himself. It's a team game, and it's more noticeable than anywhere as Harang celebrates as much as the hero, Bruce.

You could see the joy the players got in dousing manager Dusty Baker, who despite his critics, rarely has any in his own clubhouse. Brandon Phillips had never tasted alcohol until he had beer and champagne poured over him -- and at one point you could tell he didn't feel like he'd be tasting another Budweiser anytime soon as he spit out what got into his mouth.

After finishing off the champagne, veteran reliever Arthur Rhodes led the troops out onto the field to celebrate with the thousands that stayed in the stadium to celebrate. Jonny Gomes -- who celebrated with the 2008 Rays -- sprayed fans with champagne as he wore his ski goggles.

Players took a lap, high-fiving fans anywhere near the fence. One woman stole Bruce's hat before he pulled it back.

Phillips thanked the fans on the microphone, then passed it to Joey Votto as fans chanted "M-V-P" for  the first baseman, who hugged the night's hero before passing Bruce the mic. Bruce then addressed the crowd.

Owner Bob Castellini, wearing a Reds pullover and track pants over his regular clothes to keep from stinking of champagne and beer, handed Orlando Cabrera a box of cigars. Weeks ago, Castellini told Cabrera he'd give him a box of the "best legal cigars in the U.S." -- and he paid off with a box of Liga Privada No. 9 cigars. Cabrera then handed out the cigars to anyone close and also used a torch to light them for anyone who wanted one.

Finally, as TV cameras continued to interview just about anyone in uniform, Castellini saw general manager Walt Jocketty and gave him a hug. Castellini promised to bring Cincinnati a winner four years ago when he bought the team, and he finally had.




-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 10, 2010 5:29 pm
 

Red gives MVP nod to CarGo

Brandon Phillips Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips may not win Teammate of the Year for 2010, but you've got to give him credit for being honest.

First off, he had the whole incident that fired up the Cardinals, calling them "little bitches " and now when asked about the MVP, he's not even picking his own teammate.

Appearing on 104.3 the Fan in Denver (via SportsRadioInterviews.com ), Phillips picked the hometown boy -- Carlos Gonzalez over Joey Votto for MVP.

He was asked who is the MVP and said this:
"You want to know the truth, man? I'm a very honest, blunt person and honestly I believe CarGo is the man. He's hitting .340 … he's chasing the triple crown. If he leads in most of the categories of the triple crown, you've gotta lean that way. But it's not over 'til it's over." Phillips' Cincinnati teammate is tied with Gonzalez for the RBI lead (100) and is also tied in home runs (32). Gonzalez has a better average (.337) and slugging percentage (.614) but Votto leads the league in on-base percentage (.423) and OPS (1.013). Gonzalez's on-base percentage is .374. But that doesn't mean much to Phillips, a lead-off man who has in the past said , "I don't believe in that on-base percentage stuff. That's overrated to me. If you get hits, you'll be on base. That's what it's about."

Gonzalez does lead the NL in hits (173), while Phillips and Votto are tied for sixth (156).

You gotta give Phillips credit for honest -- if not diplomacy, but we already knew that wasn't one of his strong suits.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com