The Red Sox have signed 36-year old infielder Brandon Phillips to a minor league contract. He has spent parts of 15 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, and the Los Angeles Angels. Phillips is primarily a second baseman, the position at which he has won four gold gloves. Before getting promoted to the majors, Brandon will probably go through an “extended spring training” of sorts. He hasn’t played a major league since September 30, 2017. What role will he have with the Red Sox?
Phillips Provides Infield Depth
The Red Sox have been in need of infield depth for a large part of the season. Dustin Pedroia is currently on the DL, Xander Bogaerts has spent time on the DL, and Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez have struggled. The defense has also had it’s struggles, with Devers being second in the majors in errors (15) and Nunez not being as consistent with the leather. Brandon Phillips’ four gold gloves should immensely help on this side of the field and could also serve as a mentor to the 21-year old Rafael Devers.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, “Source: Brandon Phillips will play 3B for #RedSox at Triple A. Second source says “no connection” between his signing and Pedroia situation. Phillips, however, certainly offers team protection for Pedroia/Nunez.” (Twitter: @Ken_Rosenthal)
Phillips Hits Well Against Lefties
The Red Sox have also shown their struggles against left-handed pitching. As a team, they are hitting for a .250 average and a .740 OPS against lefties, which certainly leaves much to be desired. In fact, their worst hitting performances this year include getting no-hit by A’s lefty Sean Manaea and getting shutout over 7 2/3 innings by Mariners’ lefty Wade LeBlanc.
Brandon Phillips has been exceptional against left-handed pitching in his career. He sports a .285/.333/.450/.782 slash line in 1,922 career at-bats against lefties. Phillips’ career damage against left-handed starters is even more impressive (.292/.334/.456/.790).
It goes without saying that Phillips is an immediate upgrade to the Bosox. Let’s see if it pans out that way on the diamond.