CINCINNATI -- Now that Joey Votto and the Reds have signed a 10-year contract extension worth a whopping $225 million, is there any money left to sign one of the other big players on the team -- Brandon Phillips? Phillips is playing out the $12.5 million option year on his contract and can become a free agent after this season. Negotiations on an extension have lumbered and stalled since talks began in September. The club believed there was room in the budget to keep Phillips, too.
"I feel confident," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said at Wednesday's news conference for Votto. "I had a nice long discussion with him last night after the game. I think we're moving in the right direction. "I know he wants to continue to stay here. And we want to try and work out a deal, hopefully in the coming days and weeks, work at that and get it complete. It's our goal and his goal. It's something that is on the front burner." Phillips, who had been vocal about wanting a new contract since Spring Training 2011, declined to answer questions this week about a contract. The Reds have already made a significant offer to Phillips, according to a source, but figures were not revealed. The ball is in the second baseman's court, now. Phillips, 30, has been with the Reds since he was traded by the Indians in 2006 for Minor Leaguer Jeff Stevens. It's been a steal of a deal for the Reds, as Phillips has won three Gold Gloves and has been one of the team's better hitters. He's batting .280 with 124 home runs and 486 RBIs in six seasons with Cincinnati. Reds owner/CEO Bob Castellini seemed to sense that someone would ask about Phillips during Votto's news conference. He headed it off before it could be uttered. "It has no negative bearing on our conversations with Brandon Phillips, and hopefully our conversations with Dusty Baker as we go along," Castellini said.