Heyman: Yankees inquired about Brandon Phillips

No Yankees among major awards finalists
Scouting The Free Agent Market: Brian McCann

Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees have called the Reds and inquired about Brandon Phillips, who is supposedly on the trade block. The team also contacted free agent Omar Infante recently as they try to line up second base options should Robinson Cano sign elsewhere. Heyman says the price tag on Phillips is “way too steep.”

Phillips, 32, hit .261/.310/.396 (91 wRC+) with 18 homers and five stolen bases in 666 plate appearances this summer. His defense at second is very good and there is still $50M and four years left on his contract. As I wrote in a mailbag late last month, I would look for a short-term solution (like Infante!) before taking the plunge and making a trade for Phillips. He’s a solid player but there are clear signs of decline, most notably his disappearing power and speed.

No Yankees among major awards finalists
Scouting The Free Agent Market: Brian McCann
  • Avi

    I can’t take the Yankees. I really miss george and the way this team used to operate. Giving Jeter $12mm after getting $17mm last year for hardly playing was asinine!
    My Fellow yankee fans: Try to find another sport or game to follow. It’s the dawn of a very dark age in Yankees history.
    Bowling anyone?

    • Michael Allen

      I’ll hold the door for you.

      No real news here. I expect the front office has been doing this type of “homework” for a while now. Although, this is most likely a negotiation tactic of sorts to let Cano know he is not the only option at second base for 2014 and beyond.

    • forensic

      I don’t like what they did with Jeter and I want nothing to do with Brandon Phillips being a Yankee, but geez, this is basically them doing their due diligence.

      Especially given the season the Yankees just had and a couple of the FA’s they have, there are going to be more pointless reports like this than ever before. I hate all this shit too, but get a grip dude.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Your mama went bowling. Down there.

    • TCMiller30

      I think that’s what being a fairweather fan is. Enjoying the team when things are going good, but you wanna run and hide because you think they might be looking at rough times ahead? Come on man.

    • jjyank

      Go for it. Sounds like Yankee fans as a group would be better without you.

  • YankeeFan

    I hope I am wrong but first inquiring about Infante and now Phillips sure sounds like the Yankees are more than ready to let Cano walk.

    • NeilT

      It would be absurd for the FO not to kick the tires on options to replace Robbie. The Yankees do not currently have a 2B lined up for 2014 – what did you expect would happen?

      • CashmanNinja


        Cano is a free agent. He’s technically not employed by the Yankees and it’s not a given that he’ll return. For all we know the Dodgers could offer $250 mil and there’s no way the Yankees match that. And if that happened and the Yankees didn’t do their homework then we’d either get fleeced in a trade since we’d be desperate or we’d make a rash move and get someone who doesn’t fit this team *cough* Tony Womack *cough*.

        They’re just exploring options and getting a Plan B, C, D, E, F, G, H, etc. available in case Cano left. What more do you want them to do? It’s either do that or do nothing and hope that they re-sign Cano with no snags. And there are always snags of some sort.

        As for Phillips…I simply don’t want him. He’s got an attitude problem and he’s not exactly an OBP guy. His power is so-so, but he’s seemed more streaky as of late. The defense is still pretty good, but I feel he’s a bit overhyped because he’ll make 3 or 4 high light plays a year and people assume he’s like that on every play. He’s not bad at all, but if you’re looking down the road then I don’t expect him to hold up so well. Infante is the better short term option.

        • Now Batting

          As fans we’re dealing with imperfect information so it’s impossible to make educated conclusions. That said, it’s a little disconcerting the rumors have all been about the Yankees seeking alternatives to Cano and not seeking Cano himself

          • whozat

            There have been discussions between the Yankees and Cano’s representatives for months now. There’s no new information. Free agency just started yesterday, though, so there’s new information connecting the Yankees with other players.

            Unless someone leaks credible information about contract terms, there’s nothing to say about Cano to the Yanks. So nothing is being said. It’s not disconcerting at all, it’s completely expected.

        • forensic

          I want nothing to do with Omar Infante. But other than that, I agree with everything you said.

        • the tenth inning stretch

          Just don’t tell him that he’s a low-OBP guy.

        • qwerty

          If the Dodgers off Cano 250, then why can’t the yankees do the same or offer more? Let’s not be silly, they are not clever enough to let Cano go. If he leaves it won’t be decided by the yankees.

      • YankeeFan

        They also didn’t have a catcher lined up for 2013 and look what happened…

        • Caballo Sin Nombre

          On the contrary, they really did believe that Cervelli/Stewart was the bridge to Romine/Sanchez. You can criticize them for an error of judgement, but they clearly did have a strategy.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            It also may have been had Cervelli not gotten hurt, however unlikely it may have been.

          • YankeeFan

            I don’t believe that is correctly stated at all. Sanchez was more than a year away going into last season and Romine was coming off essentially 2 lost years. They could have definitely signed Martin to a 2-year deal or if they wanted to go even less, look at someone like AJ (something I was all for). Instead, they made the conscious decision to go into the season with not one legitimate catcher. The Cervelli injury is overstated considering he has never been a ML hitter and even if sustained some form of offense and not had gotten injured, the organization knew he was in the mix with Biogenesis and still didn’t make a move before the season or in-season.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Not at all. They’re looking at fallback options, and this probably does establish a small sense of urgency for Robbie to come to the table. He does have a fancy new watch, as we all know, so telling time shouldn’t be an issue.

      It’s the off-season. A beat writer so much as hears Brian Cashman sneeze something that sounds like “Brian McCann” and it will be reported somewhere. Try to take it all in stride.

    • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

      It’s called the art of negotiations.

      Cano’s camp says to the Yankees: you need Cano, you have no viable options either internally or externally.

      Yankees say to Cano’s camp: well, Cano is a great player and we would love to have him, but, we can sign Infante or trade for Phillips and spend the remaining money elsewhere.

      Obviously, everyone on earth knows that Cano is better than any other 2B in the world…but that doesn’t mean the Yankees shouldn’t use the possibility of bringing in another 2B as leverage in the negotiations.

      • YankeeFan

        Your last statement proves the point though. Everyone knows that Cano is much, much better than any other second baseman in the world. And the two people that know that the most are Cano and his agent(s). You think Cano is worried about the Yankees? I’m sure there are plenty of times lining up to give him a nice payday that we haven’t heard about (i.e. Yankees swooping in to get Teixeira). The longer the Yankees wait, the more likely Cano is wearing a different uniform next season, imo.

  • YankeeFan

    This is the same FO/ownership that had a hard time making a decision whether to offer a QO to Granderson. This goes far deeper than just kicking the tires. We have already seen them give a pay raise to Jeter and a debate as to whether to give a QO to Granderson (they rightly finally did). This doesn’t exactly bring much confidence especially after the previous offseason and season where the biggest splashes were the likes of Ichiro, Youkilis, and Wells where it seemed everyone knew how that was going to turn out except the organization.

    • Caballo Sin Nombre

      You don’t know how hard a decision it really was to give a QO to Granderson. You just know leaks and media spin. All you really know is they made the right decision.

  • Kosmo

    I don´t know about Phillips power numbers being down. He´s hit 18 HRs 4 consecutive seasons which is about what he´s averaged for his career. He did slip a little in the doubles department. He´s never been a big OBP guy because he doesn´t walk much.
    Phillips 4 years 50 million or Infante who may get a 3 year 27-30 million deal. I don´t see much difference. Their D is about the same.
    If Cano goes elsewhere, which I doubt, I´d prefer Phillips ever so slightly, although his mouth sometimes gets the best of him, over Infante.

    • Jonathan

      Well, there is quite a bit of difference. One is a FA and one you have to trade for. Secondly, Infante and Phillips may be about the same but one is on the way down and the other isn’t and that’s huge when you realize how quickly 2B fall off a cliff. Lastly, if Phillips can’t handle the ravenous Cincinnati media, I doubt he’d do well here.

      • Kosmo

        Right a big difference in performance Phillips would give NY about 35 RBI more. I´m sure if Cincinnati is willing to unload Phillip´s contract it might come with a discount depending on the players involved. Phillips is all of 1 year older than Infante and Cano. So your aging angle is a crock.
        Infante is a lifetime .275 hitter with very little power and his career OBP is .319.
        If 2nd baseman fall off a cliff then what would be the point in re-signing Cano who is the same age as Infante and Phillips for about 150 million more ?

        • Caballo Sin Nombre

          It’s likely Cincy would pay for part of Phillips’ contract, and it’s likely that Cincy would agree to eat their portion all within 2014. If Phillips is 4/50 and Cincy eats $10M, for example, he would only cost the Yankees $2.5M against the cap. That is the big advantage of a trade versus an uncompensated FA signing, IMO.

        • Jonathan

          I said nothing about their age. I say they fall off a cliff quickly. One is showing signs of falling of said cliff and one is not. And I’m completely with you that if we were acquiring a past player it’d easily be Phillips that made more sense but we’d be acquiring the next few years so you’re missing the point. And since I didn’t mention Cano one single time I have no idea where you’re coming from. The best argument for re-signing Cano is he’s our only chance to win now, isn’t showing signs of decline, has been durable and is less likely to fall of a cliff based on the fact that he doesn’t get hammered on the double play like almost every other 2B and the fact that ELITE players have been shown to blow aging curves out of the water. Just recently with Jeter and Posada they both spent several years with people saying nobody won a WS with SS or C that old or produced at a league average rate at that age etc and they did it. Phillips nor Infante are elite.

          And lastly, I dunno if you noticed but Phillips is a lifetime .271 hitter and has a .320 OBP so I have no idea what you’re trying to do by pointing out Infante’s career stats. Also, last year Phillips slugged .396 with a .135 ISO while Infante slugged .450 with a .132 ISO. Of course Infante plays in a major pitchers park and Phillips plays in a very hitter friendly deal. So basically they’re very close to the same in value except one is a headache and is declining and one is not.

          I say sign Cano/McCann/Tanaka/Kuroda/Beltran/Granderson/Drew or Peralta/1 late inning reliever and let’s get back to winning. That would put us with:

          C McCann
          1B Teixeira
          2B Cano
          SS Jeter
          3B Arod/Peralta/Drew?
          LF Granderson
          CF Gardner
          RF Beltran
          DH Soriano

          SP Sabathia
          SP Kuroda
          SP Tanaka
          SP Nova
          SP Phelps/Warren/Pineda/Nuno

          RP Robertson
          RP FA signing
          RP Kelley
          RP Betances

          That’s a winning team and I guarantee the Steinbrenners still could afford anything they wanted. People would probably come see that team and watch on TV as well. McCann is an absolute must. Mark my words he’s going to be the new 2005 Beltran. The guy who made so much sense that you can’t figure out wtf happened. The last time an elite catcher hit FA was Pudge if you count him in 04 or Piazza in 99. And we’re going to let him go over money (aka our main/inherent advantage) even though he would fit perfectly in our ballpark.

  • qwerty

    All this is for show. The yankees will give Cano his 300 million dollar contract.

    • forensic

      The yankees will give Cano his 300 million dollar contract.

      I sure hope not.

      • Kosmo

        Me too. I think NY goes 7-8 years 175-200 million.

  • CashmanNinja

    I’m still a fan of the Yankees not wanting to go past the total they gave CC. I think that’s very fair.

  • jjyank

    I don’t want Phillips, but frankly, I’m flabbergasted at the fans up in arms about kicking the tires. It’s almost as if you people don’t want the organization to do its job.

    I’m sure Cano is at the very top of their 2B list. But it literally makes no sense to not be checking out contingency plans.

    • Bobby

      I also want Cano back badly but if 7 years 175 million is not good enough the yanks have to move on. Unfortunately as good as he is teams win championships not one player. Use the money to sign several other free agents. The other important thing here is: where is Gene Michael? We need his input now more than ever!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I’ll bet you one shiny internet dollar Gene would say, “re-sign Robbie.”

        • Bobby

          At what price?

      • 42isNotMortal

        I agree, 7/175 is incredibly fair to Cano. We’re counting on his hands to stay quick and tight through his age 38 season in such an offer. Yes, Cano’s solid lower half and self preservation ahem smooth style may allow his production to age better than say Roberto Alomars. Still let’s not forget up the middle skill sets (2B/SS/CF/C) age faster than their corner teammates, so the Yanks would be wise to stand fast at that 7 year number (maybe with a discounted player or mutual option at the end).

        Personally, I’d pay Cano handsomely in the short-term by giving him a bit more than the Hamilton contract, say 5/132 and let somebody else pay for his late 30’s decline. I guess the 189 mark hurts a larger AAV/short termed deal too. I’m just ultimately scared with concern to ownership overstepping Cashman as Axisa has exampled a few times and giving Robbie 8 or 9 years.

      • Silvio

        I saw Gene M. at the Rivera Day celebration. He seemed kind of old, mid-70s looking. For all we know, he may consider himself semi-retired, whatever title may be bestowed on him by the Yankees.