Often-reported rumor has it that the Reds want to move Brandon Phillips. They are not a top payroll team, they have young stars, and if they do want to re-sign Choo, they could be very motivated to move Phillips and the four years and $50M left on his deal.
Phillips is 32, and his best years are almost certainly are behind him. But he does hit for power and drive in runs, he is a good hitter with a reasonable K rate, and while his SB totals have gone down, he remains a very good fielder. And in a small sample size, he has hit well in the postseason. And his career H/R splits are not at all uneven, suggesting he would not suffer a Citi Field meltdown.
The Mets have no choice but to get creative this offseason if they have any shot at seriously improving in 2014. We posited over the weekend the idea of signing Arroyo and Kazmir. This would not only obviously immediately improve the rotation, but it would finally allow the Mets to deal from their pitching strength without unacceptably killing its depth. Going after Phillips could be a similar move.
1B is a black hole. Ike and Duda have been given more than enough time to show what they can do, and it is not much. As TRS pointed out, Duda's OPS is a mirage, as he is mentally weak and generally incapable of hitting in a big spot. Ike simply might never again be the player he was in 2010-2011.
Acquiring Phillips and considering moving Murphy back to 1B might be a great way to go. No, Murphy is not a very good 1B, but neither is Duda. And Phillips is a good 2B, so overall the right side of the IF would probably be fine. Certainly as good as it would be with Duda/Murph over there.
Phillips' bat would instantly improve the lineup. He could hit 2nd or 4th, and would provide some pop, some RBI, and loads of sorely-needed professionalism at the top of the order. He rarely gets injured and would be a strong veteran presence also needed on this team. The combo of power, good fielding, playing nearly 150+ games every year, and experience is a very, very valuable combination for this team right now.
If the Reds were willing to eat some salary and view this as something of a salary dump, perhaps the Mets could get this done with some sort of package of Flores and/or Montero and another lower-level prospect or two.
And no, they should not trade Murphy for Phillips. We already need to replace Byrd's bat, and we simply cannot afford to lose Murph's offensive production unless it was in the context of acquiring a player or players of greater consequence than Phillips.
Is this ideal? No. Is it a lot of money for Phillips at this stage of his career? Sure is.
But it would shore up the right side of the IF, bring in power, replace Byrd's production somewhat and also his veteran leadership, and do it without giving away too much.
Again, the Mets must get creative and be willing to spend. This is another way to do this without breaking the bank and hopefully without losing too much in the way of prospects.
A lineup with Phillips in the top half and a rotation which included Arroyo and Kazmir would instantly make this team a contender to be .500+ in 2014.