CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips hasn't been shy about talking about his desire for a new contract. He has used Twitter to convey his feelings on the good progress earlier this week. Phillips flew to town from Atlanta for a Major League Baseball event about Breaking Barriers on Thursday at Lakota West Freshman School. He was there for 14-year-old Meggie Zahneis, the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest winner who will become a youth reporter for MLB.com. Contract negotiations were naturally going to come up while Phillips was speaking with reporters about Meggie.
"I really don't know right now," Phillips responded when asked for an update on the progress. "I've been talking to my agent back and forth. I'm just going to leave it up to Walt [Jocketty, the Reds' general manager] and my agent to get it done. I just know I am going to be here this year, and I'm going to go out there and have another successful year this year like I've been having every year since I've been here. Hopefully, they get it done, because this is where I want to be." Phillips, 30, had his $12 million club option picked up by Cincinnati for 2012. He can become a free agent after next season if a deal isn't reached. "Right now, I just want to be here forever like my idol, Barry Larkin," Phillips said. "It's all about the years. It's not really all about the money. A lot of people worry about age and stuff like that, but I just go out and bust my butt regardless of what I'm going through. I want to bring a title to this city because we haven't had one in a while." If there was any tension on Phillips' end about the lack of a new contract, it was not at all visible on Thursday. He wore a large smile on his face as he hugged and spoke with Meggie while taking pictures with her and Breaking Barriers leader Sharon Robinson, the daughter of baseball great Jackie Robinson. He also addressed the school during an assembly where he was seated between Meggie and Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini. Phillips batted .300 with 18 home runs and 82 RBIs this past season and earned his third National League Gold Glove and his first NL Silver Slugger Award. When reached earlier this week, Jocketty didn't expect a contract with Phillips to be signed this week. There had been speculation this week that Phillips might skip the annual Redsfest fan event, which will be on Friday and Saturday. Right now, Phillips is only slated to attend on Friday. "Have I ever missed Redsfest before?" Phillips said. "I'm never going to say no to my fans. They're the reason I'm playing this game like I am. My mom always told me, 'One day, people aren't going to ask for your autograph, so you better enjoy it.'"