Brandon Phillips, a veteran second baseman who played for the Atlanta Braves for less than a year, has been traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Reports broke Thursday night that the trade had been approved and that the Braves would be receiving back Tony Sanchez, a catcher from the minor leagues. The trade seems to have been a difficult decision for Phillips to accept. He lived most of his life in Stone Mountain, located just outside Atlanta, and said he had fun playing for the Braves.
However, he received encouragement from his family members, who hoped he would be able to pursue a World Series ring with the Angels. For Phillips, leaving Atlanta means not only leaving home, but leaving a team he grew up watching. His childhood memories of watching the Braves with his family were a large part of the reason he found it difficult stepping away the team.
“It was really tough to leave the team that I grew up watching,” he said. “This decision was much harder than leaving the Reds, honestly, just being around the family and stuff like that.”
Phillips had only just joined the Braves in February and retained a partial no-trade clause as part of his contract. There was a list of teams he could have refused any trade to, including the Angels. However, he approved the trade just before the midnight trade deadline. Braves general manager John Coppolella commented that the team was contacted on Thursday, the same day that the trade deadline was set to take effect.
Team ownership reportedly felt it was only right to let Phillips know about the offer, since it meant a chance for the veteran to participate in the playoffs. When he arrives in Anaheim, Phillips will be joining a team that has already acquired All-Star outfielder Justin Upton in a trade with the Detroit Tigers.
Phillips is anticipated to play second base once more, a position at which the Angels have had trouble, and is likely to bring stellar play to a position from which he has won four Golden Glove awards. Not only will the Angels strengthen one of their weakest positions, but they’ll also be doing so at little cost, paying only about $200,000 of the remaining money that Phillips is still owed. Although they’ll also be paying a $500,000 assignment bonus to Phillips, the deal remains a bargain for the Angels.
[Featured Image by Chris Szagola/AP Images]