Could Baltimore Handle Brandon Phillips?
Rumors have circulated over recent weeks speculating the trade candidacy of Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. With Brian Roberts and his horrid contract finally shed, the Orioles have an uncertainty at the position heading into next year. Under contract through 2017 and owed 50 million dollars over the next four years, the Baltimore organization certainly could take on such a contact after showing their ability to handle additional payroll by trading for Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez this past season, both multi-million dollar additions.
The need is there. The money is there.
There is no asking price known for Phillips, but it would likely include an upper level prospect or two and possibly major league ready talent as well.
Could Adam Jones stand in the way of such a deal?
Jones is undoubtedly the vocal leader in Baltimore. Phillips is the same in Cincinnati. Teammates on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, both markedly use Twitter and other social media outlets to share thoughts, converse with fans, and relay messages to hundreds of thousands of followers.
The amount of scrutiny that Jones receives on the social media monster is unruly and frankly unnecessary, but the three-time All Star has been able to look the other way, at least outwardly in the public’s eyes. Insults and criticism are expected for any mainstream athlete, but Jones in particular has raised eyebrows even amongst the Baltimore media as to whether his social media practices might possibly affect the game he plays.
Phillips assuredly deals with the same. And that comes with over 725,000 followers, nearly six times the amount on the Jones bandwagon.
It’s obvious that the Orioles have second base needs and that Phillips’ on field abilities would adequately fill that role. Without questioning the integrity of Jones or Phillips, it raises the question if the pair would create a negative distraction amongst teammates or possibly liven up an otherwise reserved group of guys.
The Reds have continuously fallen out of the playoffs early in recent years, leading to their firing of manager Dusty Baker recently. With an extremely talented squad, Phillips has been the leader while the likes of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce have stayed hidden. The O’s remain obscure, staying reticent and reserved, though they certainly raised eyebrows and shocked much of the baseball world with an unexpected playoff appearance in 2012.
Phillips, on the other hand, has his voice readily available to the media. Commenting on the Reds’ recent Wild Card loss to the Pirates in early October, Phillips made his disappointment apparent: “We deserve everything, we choked. We did. I don’t care how people really feel, how my teammates how they feel about what I’m saying right now because it’s the truth. Either you win or you go home, and I’m going home. The last place I want to be is on my couch. I don’t want to do that, but it happened today. It sucks, man. It’s terrible.”
Just this past July, Phillips was quoted in Cincinnati Magazine saying that his six-year extension, worth 72.5 million dollars, was a “slap in the face.” Stemming from teammate Joey Votto’s 225 million dollar deal less than a year earlier, Phillips made it apparent that he was told by the Reds front office that money wasn’t available for a substantial raise in the three digit range that Phillips was expecting. Further, Phillips said, “Do I feel like they lied to me? If someone tells me they don’t have no money and you find $200 million somewhere, what does that sound like? You tell me.”
Could these extroverted personalities and unashamed public figures possibly clash?
I don’t believe so. Issues arise in clubhouses throughout professional sports when there are immature and egotistical attitudes, but these two certainly have their presence under control and take much pride in their actions. While too many vocal individuals can cause dispute, a platform of leadership could be the missing ingredient to push the Orioles deep into October (soon to be November) baseball.