Aaron Hill For Brandon Phillips? A Good Deal For Both Sides

by Brendan Panikkar | Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
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Brandon Phillips

Brandon Phillips could be moved to the Diamondbacks for Aaron Hill

The GM Meetings in Florida has the rumor mill spinning. There have even been some trades made already. The Minnesota Twins traded Aaron Hicks to the New York Yankees for John Ryan Murphy today, a move that the Yankees could benefit from with all the Brett Gardner rumors. Another trade rumor has the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds discussing a swap at 2nd base with Aaron Hill going to Cincinnati for Brandon Phillips.

It remains to be seen if this deal is going to take off and turn into anything serious as there will likely be other pieces involved in this potential deal but when looking at who would win such a deal, I would say advantage Cincinnati even though Arizona is getting the better player in this deal. At the same time, it is a deal that would seemingly work out nicely for both teams when looking at just the swap of the two second basemen.

Let’s start with Brandon Phillips. Phillips has been a mainstay in Cincinnati since he was acquired and took over at 2nd base in 2006. He has had himself a nice career in Cincinnati being a 3 time all-star, a silver slugger award winner, 4 time gold glover, and was part of the 30-30 club in 2007. Phillips brings a nice combination of speed, power, contact, and defense to the table but the past few season has seen Phillips value drop from a high of 5.4 wins in 2011 to 1.6 in 2014 and back to 2.6 this past season.

There are those that would argue that Brandon Phillips is not as good as he is made out to be by the general public and I would agree with that. Phillips is actually not as good offensively as people think. For his career, he has a wRC+ of 95. That is below the league average of 100. He also does not get on base very much. He has a career .320 OBP and wOBA of .315. Phillips is underwhelming in most offensive categories but he is still in the upper echelon of 2nd baseman in the game.

Aaron Hill has been in Arizona since a 2011 trade that sent him and John McDonald to Arizona and Kelly Johnson going back to the Toronto Blue Jays. Hill had a massive 2012 season with Arizona being worth 5.3 wins but that quickly went downhill to a 2.0 win season in 2013 and was even below replacement value in 2014 at -0.9 wins. 2015 saw Hill be more of a matchup guy playing some 2nd base and some 3rd base. He only got 353 at bats and he didn’t do much with them.

Hill has had some very nice seasons in his career and back just a few years ago, was a lock for at least 20+ home runs per season. He also brought a decent contact bat and good defense. However, the power is gone, Hill is making contact less, and his glove is not close to what it used to be. Hill has become a shell of his former self. He used to be one of the best 2nd baseman in the game. Not so much the case anymore.

Why would Cincinnati want to downgrade at 2nd base? A large reason for this move would be to unload the remaining $27 million on Phillips contract. For a team that does not expect to contend and is likely to continue a massive rebuild, moving Phillips makes a ton of sense. The Reds moved Johnny Cueto at the trade deadline and there is even discussions next could be Joey Votto or Aroldis Chapman. They would likely be looking to rebuild the team around Todd Frazier. Hill is only owed $12 million for 2016 and then he is a free agent. This move frees up money for Cincinnati.

For the Diamondbacks, adding Phillips for the next 2 seasons could mean they realize they have a nice little window here for the next few years with perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt at first, one of the best center fielders in the game in AJ Pollock, Yasmany Tomas, and young ace Patrick Corbin leading the rotation. The Diamondbacks have also been active at the GM meetings being linked to Andrew Miller and free agent starter Yovani Gallardo.

Even if this trade isn’t made, it looks as if the Diamondbacks could be in for a big off-season. With the Los Angeles Dodgers potentially losing Zack Greinke, and the San Francisco Giants having some holes to fill, perhaps the Diamondbacks see a window of opportunity here. This rumored discussion between the two clubs makes sense for both teams. Keep an eye on the Diamondbacks. They could be preparing to make a big move to contending in 2016.

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Brendan Panikkar
About the Author

Brendan Panikkar is a graduate of Brock University's Sport Management program. Currently, he is the Vice-President, Customer Service at North Aware. He loves all sports but baseball and football take precedent over hockey and basketball. Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Raptors

  • Julian Toepfer

    Tomas at 3B eh?

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