Cleveland Indians trade talk: Brandon Phillips preferable to Asdrubal Cabrera

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 16: Brandon Phillips
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 16: Brandon Phillips /

In Cleveland Indians trade talk, the Tribe is looking at infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. If true, why not aim a little higher for someone such as Brandon Phillps?

In Cleveland Indians trade talk, Tribe Twitter has been underwhelmed by the rumor that Asdrubal Cabrera may be coming back to town.

Maybe it’s because Cabrera will be playing in a utility role, and that isn’t exactly the most glaring need for the Tribe leading up to the July 31 MLB trade deadline.

The Indians could use a hand at second base with Jason Kipnis out until August with a hamstring injury. Even when healthy, Kip’s had trouble getting on track. That may stem back to a rotator cuff injury he suffered in Spring Training.

If the Tribe’s looking for utility help, why not aim a little higher than Cabrera. Why not bring back another former Indian, Brandon Phillips?

He’s on pace for a 2.4 WAR season. Phillips is batting .294 with a .785 OPS. Fan rated him as the 13th best defensive second basemen in the majors (Kipnis is 18th).

Phillips is making $14 million dollars in the final year of his contract, but his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, are paying $13 million of his salary. The Reds decided it was better to move Phillips and commit to the youth movement on the Ohio River, and they found a taker in the Braves.

Phillips is a native of Atlanta, and it’s unclear of whether he’ll welcome a trade away from his hometown team, especially considering he just got there.

Phillips has a 12-team no trade clause, and it’s not clear whether the Indians are on that list. writer David O’Brien doesn’t think the Braves would move Phillips because the organization doesn’t really have anyone to take the position over. Considering that they’re only paying him $1 million and are unlikely to get a lot in return for a 36-year-old in his walk year, O’Brien contends the Braves would be content on having him shore up second base for the rest of the year.

"Phillips makes the Braves better right now, and since the return on a trade to one of 18 teams that Phillips, who grew up in Stone Mountain, could be dealt to wouldn’t likely warrant opening up that position. Not when it appears Sean Rodriguez, coming off February shoulder surgery, also still has a ways to go before he’s back to being himself.Phillips right now, with the Braves paying only $1 million of his salary and the Reds paying the rest, is more valuable to the Braves than to other teams."

Phillips, 36, left the Braves game July 20 with hamstring tightness, and is day-to-day, according to reports.

As for Cabrera, he’d be an upgrade of go-to utility man option Michael Martinez.

Like Martinez, Cabrera can play second, short and third (he’s played the hot corner once, but the Mets are going to stick him there soon).

Cabby’s batting .250 (.747 OPS) and he doesn’t strike out a ton (40 times in 70 games).

Cabrera first came up with the Indians in 2007 and helped spark the Tribe to the 2007 AL Central Division title.

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Who knows? Perhaps the 31-year-old can offer that type of spark again.