Milwaukee Brewers: Could Brandon Phillips fit with the Crew?
By Trevor Hooth
With the offseason underway, there is excitement building around what moves are in the works for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Here at Reviewing the Brew, we will speculate all of the options. No matter how silly. We have looked into second baseman such as Dee Gordon. Or his outfield teammate Giancarlo Stanton. Rays pitcher Chris Archer has been thrown into our sight line as well. The Milwaukee Brewers have plenty of options.
Through all of these possible trades or signings sifting through everything shows a lot of potential. While the theme of the team is tending towards youth, there are some older options in the mix as well. Bartolo Colon and John Lackey to name a couple. But what about Brandon Phillips?
He was once the star of Cincinnati playing right next to Joey Votto. A defensive wizard who could more than get the job done with the bat in his hands. But at 36 years old, some of that magic may be lost to father time.
If the skills are depleting, no one told Phillips. He hit .285 last year and collected 163 hits on the year. That is higher than his .275 career mark. He even hit two more homeruns than he did in 2016.
At the plate, there are no indications of aging from Phillips. He is hitting, drawing walks, and everything he used to do just as well.
With the glove, however there was a small decline. His range factor at second trailed his career average by almost one whole point. And his fielding percentage was slightly below his career mark too.
Sportstrac values Phillips at just under six million dollars a year. For his production, that is more than fair. That is what the Chicago Cubs paid Ben Zobrist to hit .232 in 2017. If Phillips can put together another solid year, then to pay him that salary would be no issue.
That still leaves the question of why Phillips?
There are several good reasons. One, it allows Phillips to take over as an everyday starter with Sogard as a backup. That lets Jonathan Villar backup, or start, elsewhere. Or David Stearns could try to trade Villar for value, citing a bounce back year as the reason.
What this type of move would do is open the floodgates for the young second baseman to fight for the job. Phillips would be gone by the time Keston Hiura, and Isan Diaz to develop. Both are top 10 second baseman according to MLB Pipeline. And that is not to forget about Mauricio Dubon who could be ready as early as next year.
With all of those players getting ready to make their mark in the MLB, the Milwaukee Brewers do not need a long term answer. They need a short term one. So why not go for the most productive older veteran on the FA list? Not to mention the personality on him is worth the contract alone. But they will be paying him for his on field play primarily.
I know that the mid to upper 30s free agents aren’t all that appealing. But they are sometimes the most practical option. The organization is focused on winning. To sign a long term contract to a position where there are extremely promising prospects just a year or two away is just clogging up the roster.
Next: Could Bartolo Colon fit with the Crew?
Phillips is a very real option for an everyday second baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers. And yes, he is past his prime, but with all of the guys on the Crew just reaching it that is a mentorship role. Every successful team has those veterans to mentor young guys. Having only Braun will only go so far.