Brandon Phillips certainly made a splash with his Red Sox career, but dramatics do not necessarily get you a job as the permanent resident at second. In his prime – with prime being a keyword – Phillips was one of the best in the game at second. A four-time Gold Glove winner, a three-time All-Star, an extra-base machine, and a player who once had 32 steals.
As the Toby Keith song goes, “I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was” – just ask Atlanta. Phillips is done, but done is prefaced with the term “every day.” Does he have anything left for another season? Phillips did hit .303 with Pawtucket in 44 games, but he is 37-years-old with 17 MLB seasons.
The key question with Phillips is can he do the job defensively? In 2016-17 Phillips had a -14 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) or a -7 each season. So if Phillips signs – expect a reasonable contract – the issue will be defense. As with Kinsler, the Red Sox would probably do a waiting game to see just how Pedroia is doing. Both Kinsler and Phillips could still be available late in spring training or into April.