Earlier tonight, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Reds were interested in trading for Brett Gardner. Those talks evidently resulted in the Yankees being offered Brandon Phillips in return for Gardner, a deal which the Yankees turned down, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Reds interested in trading for Brett Gardner
The Reds want Brett Gardner from the Yankees, but what could New York possibly fetch in return from Cincinnati?
The Yankees need a second baseman after Robinson Cano agreed to a ten-year deal with the Mariners and the team has been reluctant to give free agent second baseman Omar Infante a four-year deal. Phillips might have been able to fill that void in the infield, but his contract is prohibitive. The Cincinnati second baseman won't be a free agent until after the 2017 season after signing a ten-year deal worth $98 million to cover the 2008 to 2017 seasons.
Not agreeing to this specific offer doesn't mean that the discussion process is over. The two teams have pieces that the other would like, with the Yankees coveting Homer Bailey and the Reds seeking Gardner to bolster their outfield. If the Reds throw in money toward Phillips' contract or even add Bailey to the equation with New York kicking in some prospects, it's possible that a deal could get done.
Phillips batted .261/.310/.396 in 151 games for the Reds in 2013. He finished 13th in NL MVP voting in 2012 when he batted .281/.321/.429 with 18 home runs. Where there is this much smoke between two teams discussing a trade this time of year, it's impossible to just write it off after one rejected proposal. It's possible that the two sides won't be able to come to an agreement, but the Reds have been reportedly trying to unload Phillips and his contract for a while now. Maybe the Yankees agree to that if the return is sweetened for them a bit.
Gardner will be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season, so it's unreasonable to expect too much in the way of a return unless a team is fairly certain they could and would want to lock him up with an extension. Unfortunately, the other 29 teams in MLB know exactly where the Yankees have holes and trying to pass off a bad contract in hopes of desperation isn't surprising at all.
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