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Inbox: Phillips likely to be with Reds in 2017?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers questions from fans
MLB.com @m_sheldon

Do you think Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart will be with the Reds next year?
-- Gary H., La Grange, N.C.

It's definitely possible both will be back, but I wouldn't be stunned if one or both of them move elsewhere. I'm sure the Reds will explore deals for both players, especially with Jose Peraza needing a place to play regularly next season. But despite his strong overall season, Phillips is simply much harder to move. Not only is he going to be 36 next season, he is owed $13 million in the final season of his six-year contract in 2017, and he has full no-trade protection. Phillips also rejected trades last offseason.

Do you think Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart will be with the Reds next year?
-- Gary H., La Grange, N.C.

It's definitely possible both will be back, but I wouldn't be stunned if one or both of them move elsewhere. I'm sure the Reds will explore deals for both players, especially with Jose Peraza needing a place to play regularly next season. But despite his strong overall season, Phillips is simply much harder to move. Not only is he going to be 36 next season, he is owed $13 million in the final season of his six-year contract in 2017, and he has full no-trade protection. Phillips also rejected trades last offseason.

Cozart is a year away from free agency and is arbitration-eligible for the final time, and he has no say over a potential trade. But the return of soreness to his surgically repaired right knee likely has finished his season (he hasn't played since Sept. 10). That could prompt interested clubs to be extra cautious when looking at the medicals before making a trade. It might take another strong start to Cozart's season in 2017 to goose the market, and another try before the Trade Deadline.

What about left-handed pitching in the bullpen? Also, no offense to Tony Cingrani, but how about acquiring a more consistent and experienced closer?
-- Tim D., Columbus, Ohio

Besides Cingrani, the Reds definitely have lacked lefty relievers, and they should add some depth in that area next season. September callup Wandy Peralta has gotten a look this month, but he has some work to do. Walking the pitcher with two outs like he did Tuesday was inexcusable and led to a four-run inning vs. the Cubs.

As for acquiring a closer, allocating that kind of money during a rebuild is pointless and expensive. That is especially the case when a potential closer is already in house in Raisel Iglesias. If he can show his shoulder is 100 percent and pitch on back-to-back days, I'd let him be the guy in the ninth inning.

Are the Reds any closer to deciding whether Iglesias or Michael Lorenzen will go into the spring as starters or relievers?
-- @AnotherMikeL

Not really. It's a decision that will likely be made during the offseason, once the organization takes stock and does its evaluations. Lorenzen has already told me he'd like to start, but he would do whatever the organization asks. Iglesias told me he prefers being a reliever. I wouldn't be stunned if both pitchers are prepared for starting, just in case. It's easier to go from starting to the bullpen than the other way around.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds