The Atlanta Braves announced that they have acquired second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Cincinnati Reds.
In exchange for Phillips, the Reds received two minor league prospects: right-hander Carlos Portuondo and left-hander Andrew McKirahan.
Phillips is owed $14 million on his contract for the 2017 season, and the Reds will pay all but $1 million of that sum. In order to complete this trade, Phillips waived his 10-and-5 (10 years in MLB; five with current team) no-trade rights.
The Braves, with the addition of Phillips, are getting a veteran presence to help guide the middle of the infield. Phillips will be the oldest (and most experienced) player in the Braves' lineup. His leadership could be key to the development of the Braves' young prospects, including shortstop Dansby Swanson.
Granted, he could be pretty valuable on the field, too.
According to FanGraphs, Phillips was worth 0.9 WAR, something that seems repeatable for the 2017 season. In that case, the Braves would be getting something resembling a steal at just a $1 million and two marginal prospects cost.
Phillips posted a .291/.320/.416 line last season, hitting 11 home runs and driving in 64. He added 14 stolen bases. FanGraphs projects a similar season for him in 2017 with a 1.0 WAR.
For Cincinnati, trading Phillips now makes sense. It opens up the door for prospects like Jose Peraza to step in to the big league club, allowing them to see the potential down the road.
Their tangible return may be small, though.
The Cuban 29-year-old Portuondo pitched 34.2 innings in the Braves' system last year (High-A and Triple-A), his first season playing in the United States. He posted a 3.63 ERA over 17 games (one start). Portuondo added 25 strike outs and 17 walks.
McKirahan comes with 27.1 innings of Major League experience, all in 2015. Now 27, he missed the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery. He has the potential to be a high-strikeout arm in the bullpen if he can stay healthy.
The trade is the first that Phillips has agreed to in four tries. He blocked trades to the Nationals and Diamondbacks in the past, and he even blocked a trade to the Braves in November.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the Braves and Phillips connection.