On Thursday night, Phillips tweeted "513 to 202," a reference to the area codes of Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. While that message certainly could be partly in reference to the trade talks, Phillips also apparently did make that very trip, from Cincinnati to Washington, for an unrelated matter.
Phillips could improve the Nationals' infield defense up the middle as well as drive in runs. He's won four National League Gold Glove Awards and one NL Silver Slugger Award. If Phillips were to join the Nats, he would be reunited with manager Dusty Baker. The two worked together in Cincinnati from 2008-13 and reached the postseason three times.
Phillips, 34, also has the distinction of being selected by the Expos in the second round of the 1999 Draft. He was later traded to the Indians in 2002 in the blockbuster deal that brought Bartolo Colon to Montreal.
Phillips is under contract with the Reds for $27 million during the next two years. He hit .294 with a .328 on-base percentage, a .395 slugging percentage, 12 homers and 70 RBIs last season.
For the Nationals to acquire Phillips, the Reds would likely want prospects they can control for a while, preferably position players.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.