CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was not retreating on Friday from comments he made for a just-published article in a local magazine.
In discussing the six-year, $72 million contract he signed with the Reds in April 2012, Phillips told Cincinnati Magazine he was "scarred" and it was a "slap in the face," because teammate Joey Votto -- who still had two years left on his contract -- signed a 10-year, $225 million contract before the Reds turned their attention to him, a pending free agent.
"What did I say wrong? Please tell me what did I say that was wrong?" Phillips said on Friday. "It's about people asking you questions. You don't back down from any question. You just tell them how you really feel. I don't feel like I said anything wrong. I didn't disrespect [anybody]. If I did, it could be somebody in the front office. They know what happened, so I don't understand why everything is a big deal. And fans, I didn't say anything. I love this city. I love Cincinnati. I'm happy to be here. I'm happy with the contract that I've got."
The story, featured on the cover of the magazine's August issue, covered many aspects of Phillips' tenure in Cincinnati, but the part that made waves on Friday was his criticism of how the Reds' front office handled his negotiations last year.
"If somebody tells me they have no money and then you find $200 million somewhere, what does that sound like?" Phillips said. "I'm very happy for Joey, don't get me wrong. I'm happy for everything that happened for Joey. Myself, I was done. I thought I wasn't going to be a Cincinnati Red anymore. If y'all paid attention to everything that I said, everything you got out of that -- people are thinking negative about it.
"Basically, if you think about it, it's saying that I thought I wasn't going to be a Cincinnati Red. If y'all want to take it the negative way, be my guest. It doesn't bother me. I love Cincinnati. I love my fans. If you don't want to like me for what I've said, that's really up to you."
Said Reds general manager Walt Jocketty: "It is an internal matter, and there will be no further comment."
For his part, Votto said he had not read the story. Both he and Phillips agreed the issue had been previously discussed between them.
"From what I gather, Brandon's reaction was totally human," Votto said. "It's a feeling I've felt before. It's a feeling most people have felt before. Brandon is a teammate I've played with for six, seven years now. I love playing with him. I really have an immense amount of respect for him. Those comments really have nothing to do with me. It doesn't change a single thing. It makes me like him more, to be honest with you."