Atlanta close to getting Phillips from Cincinnati

Brandon Phillips

ESPN's Buster Olney added Sunday morning "the Braves and Reds have finished the agreement [and are] checking boxes now before the announcement".

With a clear path to playing time in Atlanta, Phillips, a native Georgian, decided that it was time to come home.

FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman later said the teams were hoping to finalize the trade by Monday.

In addition, the Reds have agreed to pay $13 million of Phillips' $14 million contract for this season. It has no realistic chance of catching the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals or Pittsburgh Pirates in the immediate future. He appeared to be penciled in as the team's everyday second baseman thus the quick acquisition of Phillips.

The 6-foot, 210-pounder has earned four Rawlings Gold Glove awards at second base (2013, 2011, 2010, 2008), and in 2012 he was selected as the National League Wilson Defensive Player of the Year among second basemen.

Phillips graduated from Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Ga., in 1999, when he was drafted in the second round by the Montreal Expos. That contract gave Phillips the right to veto any trade.

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Phillips' departure also means Jose Peraza will be the starter while second baseman prospect Dilson Herrera gets more experience. The Reds, who belatedly committed themselves to a rebuilding program in mid-2015, have repeatedly been stymied by attempts to move him due to a limited no-trade clause and then his 10-and-5 rights, which officially kicked in in August 2014.

Phillips slashed.291/.320/.416 with 11 home runs, 64 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 2016.

Phillips - a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award victor - vetoed a trade to the Braves in November with his 10-and-5 rights, but apparently has had a change of heart. While he's unlikely to regain that form, at age 35 he's still capable of putting together a 15-15 season with a league average bat and passable defense. He reached the 30-30 plateau in the two statistics in a breakout 2007 campaign and was a force in the middle of the Reds lineup for three postseason squads.

The Braves tried to acquire Phillips in November and when he declined, Atlanta signed Sean Rodriguez, who injured his shoulder in a auto accident a few weeks ago and is expected to miss three-to-five months. The team acquired veterans Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey earlier in the offseason.

Phillips, now 35, grew up outside Atlanta, so it could be he had a change of heart and made a decision to approve a trade.

Also per Rosenthal, the Braves' interest in Phillips increased with utility infielder Sean Rodriguez - who was expected to challenge incumbent Jace Peterson for time at second - will undergo left shoulder surgery next week that will keep him out three-to-five months.

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