Under the rules in the Basic Agreement, players with at least 10 years logged in the Majors, including the last five with their current team, gain full no-trade protection. Roster turnover is more prevalent now, as are players leaving clubs as free agents. That makes this type of no-trade right very hard to get, and especially hard to give up.
In the case of Phillips and the Reds, he earned his 10-and-5 rights on Aug. 25, 2014. The Reds might have traded him before the non-waiver Trade Deadline that year, but he was on the disabled list and missed five weeks with surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Before the Winter Meetings it was all about trading Zack Cozart and Phillips. After the Winter Meetings it seemed like the Reds wanted to hold onto them. Is there any hope that the Reds trade both or one of them?
-- Cody M., Indianapolis, Ind.
Holding on to them and wanting to hold on to them are two different things. There just isn't a high demand for shortstops or second basemen this offseason. It would be no travesty if the Reds roll into Spring Training with both players. Things can change, not just in Reds camp, but around the game due to injuries or other developments. And as I touched on in the first question, Phillips has to approve any trade and we learned last week (via a source) that he declined to accept a deal to the Braves back in November.
@m_sheldon How do you see the closing duties being worked out, with three viable candidates? #redsinbox
I'd love to see manager Bryan Price be as innovative as managers were in the 2016 postseason. I could see Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen and Tony Cingrani all getting a shot at different high-leverage spots, multiple innings and closing. But it's harder to run a reliever out for two or three innings multiple times a week over a 162-game season compared to the playoffs, when there are chances to rest relievers every three to four days.
The Reds could use a veteran third catcher, potentially, if the currently rehabilitating Devin Mesoraco isn't ready for a big workload. Hanigan grew up in the Reds' organization, played for Cincinnati from 2007-13, was well-liked and did a great job with the pitchers. But he's also 36, coming off an injury-filled 2016 with the Red Sox and both his offensive and defensive numbers have declined since his Reds years. But if he's healthy now, bringing him back is something I would consider.
Barring trades, Jose Peraza is a lock as a backup. With Dilson Herrera likely being sent to Triple-A, how likely is it Arismendy Alcantara makes the cut? He seems high on the depth charts for backup infield/outfield behind Peraza.
-- Russ S., Orlando, Fla.
It's possible because Alcantara has some power and the defensive versatility to be a bench guy. But he has yet to hit with any consistency in his big leagues stints with the Cubs and A's, and he strikes out … a lot.
Considering Homer Bailey's big contract and the fact that he's from Texas, do you think the Reds will send him to the Rangers or Astros? I know the Rangers were asking for Dan Straily and Anthony DeSclafani.
-- Dan M., Noblesville, Ind.
Right now, it's hard to trade a pitcher like Bailey who has had two arm surgeries, missed most of the last two seasons and is owed $68 million for three more years. DeSclafani and Straily were attractive to clubs because they were much more affordable and under club control for three or four more seasons. And they have healthy arms.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.