In an effort to fill a void and build a team the Atlanta Braves have welcomed former nemesis Brandon Phillips to the land of the tomahawk.
Two months ago the Braves traded two minor league pitchers – Carlos Portuondo and Andrew McKirahan – for Phillips, the longtime Cincinnati Reds second baseman.
What the Braves are getting for Phillips’ $14 million dollar pricetag is 15 years of Major League experience. The 6-foot, 208-pound Phillips has played at a high level for a long time with four Gold Gloves and three All-Star selections with the Reds.
Phillips was a Cincinnati standout for 11 years. He has also played with the Cleveland Indians. Phillips is a guy who can flash some infield leather. Phillips is a guy who can steal some bases. He once stole two bases on the same pitch against John Lannan of the Washington Nationals.
Atlanta’s new second baseman has occasional power. Phillips has hit three home runs in a game twice in his baseball career. Phillips blasted 30 homers with the Reds in the 2007 season to go along with 32 stolen bases.
Phillips batted .288 that year for Cincinnati, and he drove in 94 runs. This is a player who lives for the big inning. Phillips can hit with the pressure on and men on base. In the last three seasons with the Reds, Phillips delivered 123 hits, 173 hits and 160 hits. The man is a bit of a leader and all of a baseball player.
With Phillips now onboard in Atlanta, Braves second baseman Jace Peterson will serve as an infield backup. The second baseman’s job in Atlanta belongs to Phillips. And he is going home.
Phillips was a two-sport letterman in high school at Redan in Stone Mountain. He was a basketball and baseball star. And Phillips hopes his return to Metro Atlanta means some better days for the Braves.
They could use them after finishing last place in the National League East in 2016.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer