For all his warts, Brandon Phillips is still relevant. He has the potential to contribute in all five traditional hitting categories. Phillips has batted over .280 while stealing double-digit bases and hitting double-digit homers in each of the past three seasons -- only Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Charlie Blackmon and Paul Goldschmidt can say the same. He totaled 604 plate appearances between Atlanta and Anaheim last season and only walked 21 times, and he continued to chase pitches out of the zone nearly 42 percent of the time, but even so he rarely struck out (12.1 percent). Perhaps most importantly for his 2018 outlook, Phillips' defense bounced back after he graded out as a net negative in the field in 2016, and that bodes well for his chances of seeing regular playing time again this season. Added bonus: Phillips now qualifies at third base as well as second. Of course, for any of this to matter, he needs to land with a team in free agency where he will get regular at-bats.
Phillips, who turns 37 in June, wants to play this season, but he's struggling to find a taker on the free-agent market, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. As Crasnick notes, Chase Utley is the only player who's exclusively a second baseman to sign a big-league deal this offseason (two years, $2 million). The Utley signing was bizarre, even at that price, but he has a history with the Dodgers, and they obviously like what he brings to the clubhouse. Phillips, on the other hand, doesn't have any obvious suitors, as most rebuilding clubs would prefer to give at-bats to a younger player, and most contending clubs have a superior option at the keystone. It's possible that Phillips is not on a major-league roster by Opening Day.
Phillips is out of the lineup Sunday against the Mariners, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports. Phillips will sit out Sunday while Cliff Pennington starts at second base in the Angels' season finale. Prior to being acquired by the Angels, Phillips began the season with the Braves. Between the two, the 36-year-old hit a respectable .285/.319/.416.
Phillips is not in the lineup against the White Sox on Thursday, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Phillips will head to the bench in favor of Kaleb Cowart following the club's elimination from playoff contention. Since joining the Angels at the beginning of September, Phillips has gone 24-for-94 (.255 average) with two home runs and eight RBI.
Phillips went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in Tuesday's 9-3 win over the White Sox. The veteran second baseman has thrived while batting fifth for his new club, going 4-for-12 with a double, two homers and four RBI over his last three games. It's unclear whether Phillips' new lineup placement is the main cause for his recent hot streak, or if it's simply just a coincidence. Either way, he is providing enough pop to help fantasy owners during the final week of the regular season.
Phillips went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, two RBI and a pair of runs scored in Sunday's 7-5 win over the Astros. It was the veteran second baseman's 12th homer of the season, but just his first since joining the Angels at the beginning of September. Phillips was slashing .256/.266/.321 over his previous 18 games, so manager Mike Scioscia moved him from the leadoff spot to fifth in the order Sunday. The lineup shift paid immediate dividends for the 36-year-old, and considering it coincided with the Angels snapping their six-game losing streak, this configuration will likely stick for the remainder of the season.