Deal to bring Phillips to Nats reportedly off
WASHINGTON -- It looks like Brandon Phillips will not be a member of the Nationals after all.
The Nationals and the Reds reportedly had a deal in place on Thursday that would have sent Phillips to Washington, but according to FoxSports.com, the veteran second baseman did not waive his no-trade clause. As a "10 and 5" player, Phillips must consent to any deal. Any player with 10 years or more of Major League service time, including the past five with his current team, has the right to block any trade. Neither club has confirmed a deal was in place.
No reason was given as to why Phillips didn't waive his 10-and-5 rights. Reports surfaced on Friday, however, that Phillips may have wanted financial compensation for accepting the trade. Phillips, 34, is set to make $27 million over the next two seasons.
Phillips tweeted "513 to 202" on Thursday night, a reference to the area codes of Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. While that message certainly could be partly in reference to the trade talks, Phillips also apparently did make that very trip, from Cincinnati to Washington, for an unrelated matter.
With Phillips likely out of the picture, the Nationals will continue to look for a second baseman. Earlier this week, two team sources said the Nationals had interest in free agent Daniel Murphy, who was a solid hitter for the Mets over the last seven seasons, sporting a .288 career average. As a left-handed hitter, he could help balance Washington's lineup.
Murphy was a big reason the Mets played deep into October in 2015. In the first two rounds of the postseason, Murphy went 16-for-38 (.421) with seven home runs and 11 RBIs. He hit a home run in six consecutive games, a postseason record. However, Murphy is considered a below-average defender. His defense at second base hurt the Mets in the World Series against the Royals. Murphy can also play first and third base.
It's not known what Murphy is looking for in a contract. He already rejected a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Mets. If the Nationals decide to sign Murphy, they would have to give up their first-round pick in the 2016 Draft.
The Nationals need more than just a second baseman. They are looking for a left-handed power bat to protect Bryce Harper in the lineup. They have talked to the Rockies about outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, according to a baseball source. The Rockies are looking for pitching in return.
Gonzalez is coming off a season in which he hit .271 with 40 home runs and 97 RBIs, his best season since 2010. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo signed Gonzalez to his first professional contract in 2002, when both were with the D-backs.
The Nationals are also looking for starting pitching now that Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister are no longer on the team. One source said free agent Wei-Yin Chen is on the radar, but questions whether the team is willing to give him a five-year deal.