Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine, via Jeff Blair of the Globe & Mail, says the Blue Jays have interest in Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips.  The same story also mentions the Red Sox are interested in Jays shortstop Marco Scutaro according to's Peter Gammons.

The 28 year-old Phillips batted .276/.329/.447 with 30 doubles, five triples, 20 homers and 98 RBI and stole 25 bases in 34 attempts this season.  The 98 runs batted in marked a career high for the right-handed hitting Phillips, who has spent his entire big league career in the state of Ohio.  A second round draft pick of the Montreal Expos in 1999, Phillips never made it to La Belle Province as he was traded to Cleveland with Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Lee Stevens in the Bartolo Colon deal.  However, Phillips couldn't find his groove in his four seasons with the Tribe.  The Raleigh, North Carolina native got most of his playing time in 2003 after he won the second base job in spring training.  Phillips had nearly 400 plate appearances but only managed a line of .208/.242/.311 with six homers and 33 runs batted in.  The highlight of that season was a walk-off homer to beat Detroit on May 20th but an 0-for-29 skid led to a demotion to AAA Buffalo after the All-Star break.

The 5-11, 185 pound Phillips was dealt to Cincinnati for pitcher Jeff Stevens in April of 2006 and he made an immediate impact by winning player of the week honours in April with a 17 RBI performance.  He wound up leading the Reds in hits with 148 and multi-hit games with 36.  Coming to Cincinnati was a dream come true for Phillips as he idolized Barry Larkin growing up.  The two-sport athlete who turned down a baseball and football scholarship joined Larkin and Eric Davis as the only Reds to enjoy a 30-30 season in 2007.  That year, Phillips belted 30 homers and stole 32 bases while hitting .288/.331./485 with 94 RBI.  In 2008, Phillips cooled off with the bat by hitting just .261/.312/.442 with 21 homers and 76 RBI but he shone with the glove as he earned Gold Glove honours at the keystone position.  He made just seven errors the entire season and went 78 games without making a miscue.

As pointed out in the linked article above, Phillips has two years left to go in his current contract with the Reds that will pay him $19-million dollars.  Should the Jays acquire him, he would play third base and displace his former Reds teammate Edwin Encarnacion at the hot corner.  Should Brandon Phillips come to Baseball North, he'd join three other players named Phillips in Jays history.  Catcher Kyle Phillips got his first taste of the bigs with Toronto this season while his brother Jason played for the Jays in 2006 and 2007.  Can you name the other player named Phillips who played for Toronto?

Marco Scutaro, Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill perform their victory leap after a 7-3 win over Baltimore at Rogers Centre August 9th.

Meantime, the Boston Red Sox are interested in Jays free-agent shortshop Marco Scutaro.  The 34 year-old Venezuelan is coming off a career season in which he hit .282/.379/.409 with 35 doubles, one triple, a dozen homers and 60 runs batted in.  He also stole 14 bases in 19 opportunities.  However, Scutaro missed a good chunk of September with a heel injury and the fact the he's a Type-A free agent means the Red Sox would have to surrender a first round draft pick to the Jays.  The Sox might think it'll be worth it as they acquired Alex Gonzalez from Cincinnati as a stop-gap measure for a struggling Jed Lowrie to end the 2009 campaign.  However, Boston declined to pick up the $6-million option on Gonzalez's contract and they intend to keep Lowrie at AAA Pawtucket to start 2010.

The Blue Jays have released its 2010 Grapefruit League schedule.  Their first spring training game is set for March 3rd against Detroit at Dunedin Stadium and their last two games will be played at Minute Maid Park in Houston against the Astros.

Another Phillips For Toronto? Scutaro To Beantown? | 32 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Noah - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 04:12 PM EST (#208420) #
I'm not saying that I expected him to win the award, but I'm a bit surprised Romero didn't pick up a single vote in ROY balloting.
Noah - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 04:13 PM EST (#208421) #
oops wrong thread, sorry guys.
Mike Green - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 04:13 PM EST (#208422) #
We had some discussion about aging.  As usual, Tango has the most persuasive study that I have seen. It's here.  The key points are: there is on average insignificant growth after age 26, and there is no substantial deterioration between age 26 and 31. 

There is a plausible argument that players brought up at age 26 (and who perform well) might do better than average between 26 and 29 because they benefit more from the experience than a player who came up at age 22.  As I said in a previous post, the sample of players who come up at age 26 and perform well is very, very small. 
Matthew E - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 04:22 PM EST (#208423) #

Can you name the other player named Phillips who played for Toronto?

Tony Phillips, of course, in... was it '98?

andrewkw - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 04:38 PM EST (#208424) #
The spring training schedule looks tiny compared to last years wbc extended schedule.

Soon it will be time to start planning a trip!

Mike Green - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 04:50 PM EST (#208426) #
Brandon Phillips' salary for 2011 is scheduled to be $11 million.  That's a lot of coin for a player who has never been a third baseman, and has been at best a league average hitter in the weaker league and is 28 years old.  I can't see the interest unless there is some salary moving the other way.  Now, as a second baseman, with Hill moving to short, maybe... (running out an infield of Encarnacion, Hill, Phillips, Lind with Wells and Bautista as corner outfielders and Snider DHing)
92-93 - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 04:55 PM EST (#208427) #
I like it MG, with Cameron in CF.
Mylegacy - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 05:07 PM EST (#208428) #
Mike, I share your feelings exactly. However, the thing we don't know is how many other irons are in how many other fires.

I really wish we could get a guy to travel, and live with AA all off-season and then just before the season starts he/she could write a full writeup of everything that was discussed by AA all winter. I'd LOVE to be a fly on AA's wall!

Still - as a fan - I think it's going to be an interesting off-season. SS, C, and another bat and oh yeah, whatever happens to a guy named Roy. And lets face it - that move alone could be part of a multi-team mega-deal that might impact all our issues. MAN I wish was with AA this winter!

Chuck - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 05:28 PM EST (#208429) #

The Jays already have a Brandon Phillips. His name is Aaron Hill. Good glove at second base. Offense is SLG-heavy, OBP-light.

Why would the team need two of these guys? What possible ripple effect could ensue? Moving Phillips to 3B? Moving Hill to shortstop? Trading Hill? None of these seem like really great ideas.

brent - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 05:51 PM EST (#208430) #
Mike Green - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 08:00 PM EST (#208431) #
Hill is a better player than Phillips.  If he can make the adjustment back to shortstop (and I think that he can), he becomes a very valuable player.  You can then move Pastornicky to second base in Dunedin to start the season with Jackson at short, and you have at least a reasonable long-term plan in the middle of the infield. 

brent - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 08:51 PM EST (#208433) #

That's the thing. Most Bauxites thought the team should have moved Hill long ago back to SS. If the Jays would have done this in 2006 or after the 2006 season ended, the team would be in a much better position. 2007 and 2008 didn't need to be so agonizing at SS. JP didn't get the job done in filling a critical position on the field. He was lucky that Scutaro turned out such an amazing 2009 otherwise SS would have been a huge hole again.

I hope GM AA can address with the scouting getting C, SS and CF (the premium defensive positions) covered for the long term. You can never have enough pitching, but if you're a rock up the middle, the other pieces are easier to get.

The tough question is now what players can the team move? Who could they sell high on or wait for a deadline deal? Looking up and down the roster a lot of things look bleak (at least for 2010). GM AA really needs some of the prospects to start making leaps, or he will be dealing Lind and Hill before the team is competitive.

lexomatic - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 09:29 PM EST (#208434) #
That's the thing. Most Bauxites thought the team should have moved Hill long ago back to SS

speak for yourself brent... I remember many dissenting opinions, among them my own.
While i recognize the advantage of having his bat there over a league average SS bat, in his minimal time at SS Hill wasn't much better than that guy drafted the year before him(Adams). People keep bringing this up as an option... but it's something that i recall was fairly definitively settled in the negative a few years ago. Pretty much that unless Hill asked to switch.. he wouldn't be. Not that Hill doesn't have the tools to play the position... I think it's a dead issue. Gaston won't be the manager to do it either.
I honestly don't see why this keeps coming up. There has been no indication that it would even realistically be considered since Hill became settled at 2b. I also think he would be average.. AT BEST. And that's taking into consideration my high opinion of Butterfield.
I think if he had been switched to SS in the past as well, we'd still be looking for a SS who could play better defense, and we'd be looking at switching Hill to 2b or 3b, depending on how well he had hit.
Dave Till - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 09:32 PM EST (#208435) #
This Bauxite, for one, thinks that Hill should stay put at 2B. He has position-specific skills there, not all of which translate well to shortstop. And he's one of the stars of the team: surely he deserves to stay in his comfort zone. Moving Hill to short might solve a problem, but it might create two problems where there used to be only one.

VBF - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 09:36 PM EST (#208436) #
Great pics, #2.

We all like to complain about the RC, but we have way more information available to us on the screens than a lot of other parks, GAB included.

timpinder - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 09:40 PM EST (#208437) #

"He was lucky that Scutaro turned out such an amazing 2009"

"I hope GM AA can address with the scouting getting C, SS and CF (the premium defensive positions) covered"

Why is Ricciardi "lucky" that Scutaro was so good at SS, but if AA has success addressing the position it's because of good scouting?  Why not suggest that Ricciardi did a great job and recognized a talent in Scutaro that other less adept general managers missed?

I don't think Ricciardi was great by any means, but he often seems to get unfairly criticized here.

brent - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 10:56 PM EST (#208438) #
If JP knew some secret about Marco, he wouldn't have kept MacDonald and Eckstein around so long.
brent - Monday, November 16 2009 @ 11:01 PM EST (#208439) #
Lexomatic, the team was partly at fault for letting him get settled in at 2B. He came up through the system the whole time at SS. He learned 2B at the major league level. It was JP trying to make Adams fit that wrecked the situation. Hill was the better SS all along. I guess there's no point in crying over this spilled milk any more.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 12:07 AM EST (#208440) #
I don't think Adams had much to do with it. Adams lost the SS job in early 2006, and moved to 2nd for the rest of the season. Hill took over short, but not for long - he was back at 2nd full-time in 2007, with Adams back in AAA.

It always made sense to me to play Hill at short for a while and see if he could stick, but the Jays don't appear to ever have seen him as a shortstop. They're hardly alone - a few people at BA predicted he'd end up a third baseman.

#2JBrumfield - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 12:12 AM EST (#208441) #

Can you name the other player named Phillips who played for Toronto?

Tony Phillips, of course, in... was it '98?


That is correct!  He helped form the greatest Jays outfield defence of all time as he teamed with Jose Canseco to man the corners.  Shudder!

Phillips hit .354/.467/.521 during his brief time with the Jays in July of 1998 with five doubles, a homer and seven RBI.  He was traded to the New York Mets at the trade deadline for the immortal Leo Estrella, who had a 5.79 ERA in his two appearances with Toronto during the 2000 campaign.

Magpie - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 01:02 AM EST (#208442) #
If JP knew some secret about Marco, he wouldn't have kept MacDonald and Eckstein around so long.

Perhaps I should say this very, very softly but the man most responsible for identifying Scutaro's potential as an everyday shortstop is the team's current field manager.
christaylor - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 02:17 AM EST (#208443) #
Thanks Mike, I'd never seen that one. I find the hitting data persuasive but the pitching data don't pass the smell test. Specifically, wOBA is the same for pitchers to two decimal places from 22 to 35. Something is missing... perhaps wOBA is just not a sensitive measure for aging pitchers That's a measurement issue but like the Bradbury study, I think this comes down to the manner in which the sample is selected.

After our last comments on aging, I thought it'd be neat to seed a study similar to the book where he looked at aging in similar types of players. The typical example I'm thinking of is the idea that soft-tossing LHP (and LHP in general) develop later than RHP.

This issue could be studied by splitting up Pitcher/Hitter categories based on the defensive spectrum and applying a weighting scheme. On the face of it, some positions are dominated by athleticism and others experience. Separating by position would help because you have the managers/GM doing a rough classification of players which I think they get right, most of the time.
christaylor - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 02:19 AM EST (#208444) #
That'd be such a savvy move I'd be impressed if it the press got a credible rumour that AA was considering it.
christaylor - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 02:24 AM EST (#208445) #
If there are two things that Cito was absolutely right on it was Lind and Scutaro. He's was Cito this year in a way that he wasn't in 2008. All the flaws of the past were evident this year.

I think this is unfair, because I am part of the maddening horde who'd like to see Cito replaced, but I can't help thinking that Cito tuned out most of the team at around the all-star break. Not a good sign for a team in 2010 that looks to be more like the second half-Jays than the first (with the obvious caveat of strength of schedule).
Denoit - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 07:11 AM EST (#208446) #
Not sure if I'm in on this trade. I dont think if it would spell the end of Encarnacion, they could move him to the outfeild since they are looking for a right feilder. The offence would definatly be improved from where it stands right now. Its all very sketchy though having guys come in and play different positions. They are obviously atheletic and over time could probably make the transition but it would take some work.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 09:36 AM EST (#208447) #

If you click on the Tango link and scroll down a comment or two, you'll see that Tango agrees with you about the pitching aging curve.  There appears to be a difficulty about pitching role (moving from the rotation to the pen) which necessitates an adjustment to the data.

christaylor - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 12:29 PM EST (#208452) #
Thanks, I missed that comment. I can accept a flat aging curve but I'd expect more variability in the measure. The selection of observations to use is a difficult problem in all aging research.

I've done some psychological research with aged subjects and while we try to recruit subjects randomly, we necessarily get aged subjects that are at the resistant end of the aging curve. This skews the sample for the aged group as we get study participants who are healthy/mobile/outgoing enough to see our ads, call in and be able to make the trip to the lab.

Its not directly analogous but selecting the sample for aging curves in baseball suffers a similar problem, Tango notes that he's including bad pitchers in the sample - but bad pitchers are part of the population. The trick here, is to select the sample with a good rationale and be up front about what the selection will do to the sample data.
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 12:40 PM EST (#208454) #

If he can make the adjustment back to shortstop (and I think that he can), he becomes a very valuable player.

Though it's Phillips that should be the one to move to SS.  I think he was fairly well regarded at SS, but the presence of Vizquel and Peralta in Cleveland necessitated the move to 2B.

My recollection of Hill at SS and 3B was that the accuracy of his throws was questionable.  I'm not sure he has the range for SS either.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 01:05 PM EST (#208455) #
Always interesting, the hot stove league stuff.

Brandon Phillips has played just 5 games at SS in the majors vs 717 at 2B but in the minors he played 572 at SS vs 126 at 2B.  He was a regular SS last in 2005 (111 AAA games).  For comparison Hill was last at SS in 2006 playing 63 games after never playing elsewhere in the minors (234 games).
TamRa - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 01:12 PM EST (#208457) #
Though it's Phillips that should be the one to move to SS.  I think he was fairly well regarded at SS, but the presence of Vizquel and Peralta in Cleveland necessitated the move to 2B.

I think that I'd prefer to see if Butter couldn't make this work as opposed to the other mentioned alternatives.

Phillips bat would play VERY well if he can be at least an average SS.

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 01:37 PM EST (#208460) #
The Indians preferred Peralta's defence at short to Phillips'.  The Jays preferred Adams' defence at short to Hill's.  I'd call that a wash, and suggest that a sub-optimal evaluation of one's own talent is involved in both cases. 

Hill's arm is, in my view, a strength rather than a weakness. It is his lack of speed which raises the questions from a skill perspective.
ayjackson - Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 02:18 PM EST (#208461) #
Mechanically, Hill's perfected his "throw across the body to the left" from second base, but it's a much different technique from short, where you're much more square to first.  And as I said, my recollection of his throwing was that he was much more consistent and comfortable from second than the other side of the diamond.
Another Phillips For Toronto? Scutaro To Beantown? | 32 comments | Create New Account
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