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Phillips likely not leaving Reds any time soon

10-and-5 rights, plus the money he's owed, make it hard to move second baseman

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CINCINNATI -- Tuesday should be just another day in the regular season for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. Contractually speaking, it's a whole lot more.

It's the day Phillips officially has 10 years of Major League service time, and because he's been with Cincinnati since 2006, his 10-and-5 rights will kick in.

What does it all mean?

Plenty.

Under the rules in the Basic Agreement, players with at least 10 years logged in the Majors, including the last five with their current team, gain full no-trade protection. With team turnover because of trades and free agency so common around today's game, these rights can be quite difficult to attain.

Phillips, who signed a six-year, $72.5 million contract on April 10, 2012, had a limited no-trade clause in the deal, but the 10-and-5 rights supersede that stipulation. He is signed through the 2017 season.

Because 10-and-5 rights are not easy to get, players aren't often in a rush to relinquish them. Players with the protection can approve a trade from their clubs, but they are not required to acquiesce. There are ways to entice the rights to be waived -- whether it's the chance to play for a winner, an offer of bonus money or the offer of a contract extension.

The desire to win motivated outfielder -- and 10-and-5 player -- Ken Griffey Jr. to approve of the Reds trading him to the White Sox on July 31, 2008, for right-handed reliever Nick Masset and second baseman Danny Richar.

The Reds looked into trading Phillips during the past offseason, amid heavy rumors he would be moved, but found no takers. A potential deal with the Yankees did not yield a match.

Even without his having 10-and-5 protection, the remaining salary on Phillips' contract after 2014 isn't one many teams would be willing to take on.

The 33-year-old Phillips, who is a three-time National League All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner, is earning $11 million this season. He will get $12 million next season, $13 million in 2016 and $14 million in '17. It's a sizeable amount for a second baseman headed into the post-prime years of his career. Phillips will be 36 when the deal expires.

Phillips, the longest-tenured player in Cincinnati, was one of the best trade acquisitions in Reds history when then-general manager Wayne Krivsky got him from the Indians on April 7, 2006, for Minor League pitcher Jeff Stevens.

It didn't take long for Phillips to become a fixture in Cincinnati. From 2006-11, he averaged 151 games, 21 home runs and 81 RBIs a year, and he batted .280/.331/.449 during that span. Phillips also hit in several spots in the lineup -- including leadoff and cleanup. His best season -- 2011 -- came before his big contract extension, when he batted .300/.353/.457 with 18 homers and 82 RBIs.

The years since the contract was signed haven't been nearly as robust, as Phillips has been a .270/.314/.406 hitter from 2012-14. Last season, he notched a career-high 103 RBIs, but he had the good fortune of batting behind the league's two leading hitters in on-base percentage, Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo. Phillips also played with a left forearm contusion after being hit by a pitch on June 1 of that season.

This season, Phillips is batting .269/.308/.383 with seven homers and 41 RBIs, and he returned last week after missing 33 games with a torn ligament in his left thumb. The injury, which required surgery, happened during a diving-catch attempt on July 9. The bad luck aside, he's continued to be a dynamic fielder who is able to make some dazzling plays.

Looking at his advanced offensive statistics, Phillips had a 5.6 wins above replacement (WAR) figure and a 122 weighted runs created plus (wRC+ is an attempt to quantify a player's total offensive value and measure it by runs) during his 2011 season, according to Fangraphs.com. His WAR and wRC+ have dipped each season since, to 2.6 and 91 last season and a 1.3 WAR with a 91 wRC+ this season.

Off the field, it's often been interesting. Phillips has spent the past season declining to talk to any of the Reds' beat reporters. Last season, he was caught on video verbally attacking one Cincinnati writer who wrote about his low on-base percentage. One year ago, Phillips was quoted saying unflattering things about the team's management.

The Reds, who have disappointed with a 63-68 record, are headed into an offseason in which they are boxed in by big contracts. Besides Phillips, the deals of six players -- including Votto, Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce -- will tie up $63.5 million of next year's payroll. It could mean the small-market team will move future potential free agents like Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos or Mike Leake.

One player who is going nowhere is Phillips.

What could the next three seasons bring? A lot of that depends on Phillips, while Father Time is sure to have a say. But for better or worse, Phillips will likely finish his contract with the Reds.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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