Atlanta Braves Acquire Brandon Phillips
Glove flips, behind the backs, and between the legs feeds? Brandon Phillips routinely makes plays that children impersonate on the playground.
Some might consider him the father of modern baseball swag, others know him as a three-time MLB All-Star. However you know him, second baseman Brandon Phillips is always fun to watch. He plays the game with passion and has fun while doing it. Always with a smile on his face, he plays baseball the way it was meant to be played.
After an 11 year stint with the Cincinnati Reds, Phillips has been traded to the Atlanta Braves, where he will continue to play second and presumably bat in the middle of the lineup. To acquire Phillips, the Braves traded left-handed pitcher Andrew McKirahan and right-handed pitcher Carlos Portuondo. The Reds will pay $13 million of the $14 million that Phillips is owed this season, while the Braves will pay the remaining $1 million.
So what exactly are the Braves getting in the soon to be 36 year old Phillips? For one, Phillips slashed .291/.320/.416 in 2016, including his most doubles since 2011. Having been very consistent over the past few seasons, the Braves can expect similar numbers from Phillips in 2017. On the defensive end, Phillips had one of the worst defensive seasons of his career in 2016. Phillips committed 14 errors, his most in a single season since 2006. This was uncharacteristic of the normally sure-handed Phillips and I would expect a drastic improvement in his 2017 fielding numbers.
In addition to skill at the 2B position, Phillips also brings expertise to the Braves infield. Pairing the seasoned veteran Phillips with second-year shortstop Dansby Swanson will be fun to watch. Swanson tore it up in 2016 and will only look to improve in his sophomore season. I imagine Phillips taking on a Mr. Miyagi role and teaching the young shortstop a few tricks of the trade. Trust me, you can expect more than a few highlight reel double plays with these two patrolling the middle infield. When it comes to showmanship and swagger, Brandon Phillips is the one true king.
In the wake of a tough loss in Super Bowl LI, the city of Atlanta is in desperate need of a pick-me-up. In addition to the flashy Phillips, the Braves also acquired legendary pitcher Bartolo Colon and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey during the offseason. Colon, widely known as “Big Sexy”, is one of the league’s most entertaining players to watch. While Dickey lacks the same charm that Colon has, he throws the most exciting pitch in baseball. Everyone loves watching a good knuckleball, as it doesn’t come around often. You can be sure that these two will put fans in the seats, and hopefully add some W’s to the Braves’ record. No, I’m not saying the Braves will go worst to first in the NL East, but I can guarantee that Dat Dude BP and Big Sexy will bring some excitement to Sun Trust Park this baseball season.