After losing out on free agent Ben Zobrist, the Nationals may be turning to one of Dusty Baker's former players in their search for infield help.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Nats have engaged in trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds for Brandon Phillips. The 34-year-old has two years left on his deal with the Reds worth $27 million, $13 million of which he is owed in 2016.
As Rosenthal notes, Phillips has a full no-trade clause as part of his 10-5 rights. That was earned by playing 10 years in the majors and five years with the same team. Given Phillips would join a Nats team with a chance to win a World Series and reunite with Baker, one can imagine that would not be an issue.
That's one part of it, but does he fit? Phillips would give the Nats some veteran experience at second base, but he turns 35 next season and is not exactly cheap. He also bats right-handed and the Nats would prefer adding a lefty to their lineup if they were to make a change.
Phillips is still a productive player even at his age. He isn't winning Gold Gloves anymore - he has four in his career - but he did bat .294 with 12 homers, 70 RBI, 23 steals and a .723 OPS in 2015.
Those numbers would be hard for Danny Espinosa or Trea Turner to recreate and they are the current plan for the Nats in their middle infield. But, Phillips' stats were much better than they were in 2014. If he regressed to his '14 numbers - .266/.306/.372 - then his contract would all of a sudden look like a burden again.
The Nats are looking for infield help and the Reds are said to want prospects. It's easy to see why the teams have talked, but it's not a slam dunk fit for the reasons mentioned above.