Could Baltimore Handle Brandon Phillips?

Brandon Phillips Oriole BirdRumors 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.

Brandon Phillips Adam Jones on baseCould 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.

Brandon Phillips, Adam JonesIt’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.

Avi Miller is a graduating senior at Stevenson University aspiring to one day cover the MLB beat. A member of CoSIDA, Avi currently works in sports information at the NCAA Division III level and has previously held positions with the Baltimore Jewish Times and Fox Sports Radio.

11 Comments

  1. MGW

    October 28, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Sure he’s a talent, but do the Orioles want to mess with their chemistry with this guy?

  2. Steve-O

    October 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    AJ and Phillips on the same team? Twitter would crash

  3. Joe

    October 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Shouldn’t you research the Orioles’ minor league system before saying the team needs a 2B? Now, Schoop is not a can’t-miss prospect, but he is likely to put up better overall numbers than Phillips over the next four years (hint: research second basemen and how they hold up after age 32) at a tenth of the cost.

    • Zach Wilt

      October 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Joe, I’m not entirely sold on Schoop being the second baseman of the future.

    • Avi M (@AviMillerBSR)

      October 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      I know the Orioles minor league system very well, Joe. What I also know is that not only do the Orioles have a terrible track record with prospects panning out (Manny Machado is a huge exception), but Schoop is valuable as more than simply a second baseman. The guy also plays shortstop and third base. Machado is out until at least June I believe, and Hardy is always a trade candidate, so that left side of the infield can be rattled around a bit.

      There is a lot more to it than simply “Schoop is the 2014 second baseman.” I am an avid fan of proven skills players most importantly.

  4. Phil

    October 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    It’s funny that you mention the O’s shedding Roberts’ “horrid” contract, yet you believe they should take on a 4 year 50-million dollar contract of a 32-year old second baseman with a career OBP of .320? Give me a break, kid.

    • Avi M (@AviMillerBSR)

      October 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Phil,

      My comment on the Roberts contract is irrelevant to his abilities and more attributed to the fact that his 77 games played in 2013 is the most he played in one full year since that extension took effect. 59, 39, 17, 77. That’s how many games he played each year from 2010-2013, making $10 million each season along the way.

      Also, Roberts’ OBP in that four year span: .311.

  5. KC

    October 28, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Everyone has an opinion and so do I when it comes to Brandon Phillips. I watched every Reds game last year and what I saw was that Brandon is a one man show. I give him credit for his great plays but he has said that he is an “entertainer” and like Chad Ochocinco that will be his mantra for many years. I think others on the Team would like to more serious when it comes to playing as a “team”. Jay Bruce is becoming a leader as time goes on and he is respected for his commitment to bringing the Team together.

    • Avi M (@AviMillerBSR)

      October 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      The feeling I got on my visits to GABP this year were some of the same, that the team has slightly moved on, so to speak, from Phillips’ antics and such. Jay Bruce is proving to be a quality player and leader for sure, as he would be my assumed pick to step up into that role should Phillips be dealt.

  6. Josh Bresser

    October 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    “Just got rid of one terrible second base contract, let’s take on another for 4 more years!”

    -Dan Duquette

  7. Ravens2488

    October 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Heard that The Intimidator and Chow will be at the cornhole tourney this Saturday.