MLB Trade Rumors: Brett Gardner for Brandon Phillips?

Rich Schultz

With the signing of Carlos Beltran on Friday night, the Yankees have to many outfielders and a few holes in their infield. Brett Gardner has the most trade value, and I think they should offer him to the Reds for Brandon Phillips.

In my artilcle on Carlos Beltran signing with the Yankees on Saturday morning, I speculated that the Yankees could now look to trade outfielder Brett Gardner, as they now have a surplus of outfielders for the three outfield positions. In return, they could look to fill holes in their infield or their rotation.

Now we learn, from Andy McCullough from the Newark Star-Ledger, that the Yankees are receiving significant interest in Gardner:

In my article this morning, I speculated that the Yankees could look to deal Gardner to the Reds for second baseman Brandon Phillips to fill the hole at second base now open due to Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners.

ESPN's Buster Olney recently tweeted that the Yankees indeed are looking for infield help via trade:

Earlier this offseason, there was talk that the Reds would trade Phillips this offseason due to his public frustration with the front office over his contract and the contract teammate Joey Votto received. Just recently, the team stated that he is an integral part of their team and "right now" he is their second baseman. They are leaving open the possibility of trading him, and a deal with the Yankees for Gardner makes sense for both teams.

The Reds have an opening in center field with Shin-Soo Choo a free agent this offseason, and they also have a need for a leadoff hitter. The team stated this weekend at Reds Fanfest that Billy Hamilton is currently in line to be their leadoff hitter, per C. Trent Rosencrans, Reds beat reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Note: "Rocketry" should read Jocketty

But, do we know if Hamilton is ready for the big leagues at this point? He didn't hit all that well in AAA in 2013 (.256-.308-.343 with 75 stolen bases in over 500 plate appearances), and had his share of struggles in winter league action before ending his 2013 season. More from C. Trent Rosencrans, from his November 26, 2013 article:

In 17 games with Santurce, Hamilton hit .227/.284/.293 with 11 stolen bases. He was 17 for 75 with six walks and 12 strikeouts. In his last four games, he was 10 for 18 with five stolen bases. He had four steals in his Nov. 21 game. Graupe said the team wasn’t concerned with Hamilton’s performance over such a small sample size. The team wanted him to go the winter league to get at-bats more than anything and see more pitches.

Hamilton did hit well in his September cup of coffee, hitting .368-.429-.474 with 9 runs and 13 stolen bases in 22 at bats. He was used as a pinch runner quite frequently, which contributed to his high stolen base rate over his 22 at bats.

With the Reds in win now mode, it might be best for the team, and Hamilton's development, that he starts the 2014 season in AAA. Trading for an experienced center fielder and leadoff hitter is a smart move that fills needs for both teams.

Fantasy Impact

Gardner's fantasy value would increase should he be traded to the Reds, or anywhere else, for that matter, as he could be platooned all season in the Yankees outfield.

Phillips fantasy value stays the same as he would be leaving one hitter's park for another, but one could argue he would be moving to a better lineup in New York. Then again, he had a solid year at the plate in 2013, and I don't see him topping those numbers in 2014.

Let us know your thoughts on this proposed trade in the poll and comments below.

Rankings Announcement: we will be publishing the Fake Teams Consensus PositIon Rankings (MLB and MiLB) beginning in January, so be on the lookout for some of the best 2014 rankings coverage on the net.

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