Just a week after inking Joey Votto to a ten year contract extension, the Cincinnati Reds took another step to securing their future by signing second baseman Brandon Phillips to a six year contract extension, a day after the Rangers did the same with their second baseman, Ian Kinsler. The Phillips extension is just a hair less than Kinsler’s, coming in at six years and $72.5 million.
Taking everything into account here, I’m not nearly as big of a fan of the Phililps extension as I am of the Kinsler extension. The Phillips extension will run until the 2017 season, when he’ll be 36 years old. It seems like an overpay just because 2011 was a career year for Phililps, as he had an .810 OPS while accruing a career high 6.0 fWAR. In the three years prior to that, he was worth less than 4.5 in each year, including two of under 3.5. Phillips hasn’t hit 20 homers or stolen 20 bases in the last two years after three straight 20 homer seasons and four straight 20 steal seasons.
Despite Phillips only making $2.5 million less than Kinsler over the life of his contract, he seems to have slightly less of a ceiling than Kinsler. Phillips has been a regular for six seasons, and has amassed 24 wins at age 30. Kinsler has also been a regular for six years, and has amassed 25 wins at age 29. Both players will celebrate a birthday in June, so essentially, Kinsler has been one win better over the course of his career, and is also a year younger.
I’m not going to argue that either deal is necessarily a bad one, but given nearly identical money, I’d take Kinsler maybe nine times out of ten. Phillips is a much healthier player, with six straight 140 game seasons, and that’s the one major advantage he’s got over Kinsler. At any rate, it’s a solid deal for the Reds at an average value of around $12 million a year.