Just a few days ago the Atlanta Braves traded second basemen Brandon Phillips to the Angels for minor league catcher Tony Sanchez. This trade comes at an interesting point in the season. There have been talks about Phillips being traded throughout most of the year and it’s interesting that he wasn’t dealt earlier in the season. There are a lot of Atlanta fans who were upset at Phillips leaving, that includes myself. However, while the trade comes at an odd point in the season, this trade does make sense for the club going forward.
Phillips was only signed to a one year deal and there’s a good chance the Braves wouldn’t have resigned him in the off-season. He was never in their long term plans but he was still able to make a big impact with the fan base here. His stats remained consistent throughout the year with Phillips hitting .291 with 11 homers and 51 RBI’s this season. Those are still very solid numbers for what many people would consider an aging player. So you’re probably asking yourself why trade him when he was having a solid year? Well, there are two easy things to point to, Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson.
Say what you will about Swanson but ever since he has returned from his stint in AAA, he has had a nice resurgence and been hitting the ball very well in recent weeks. He still looks to be the Braves starting shortstop of the future. The biggest surprise though is how quickly Ozzie Albies has emerged as the Braves future second basemen. With Albies coming out swinging and already creating buzz for himself the Braves really had no choice but to let Phillips go. I know they’ve been using him at third base the last few weeks, but Brandon never seemed thrilled to change positions and the team has Johan Camargo coming back from the DL and recently called up Rio Ruiz, who has been one of their top prospects. It makes more since to give these guys all the playing time they can get because one of them could very likely be the third baseman that the Braves have been searching for ever since Chipper Jones retired.
It is painful to see Brandon Phillips leave after having a pretty successful year with the Braves and providing fans with enthusiasm that is missing at times in the game today, but with how well Albies and Swanson have played with each other and them being in the long term plans for the team, it was inevitable we would see Phillips leave at some point. Just wish they would have been able to get something a little more valuable back in return.