Know Your Orioles 40 Player: Brett Phillips

During the offseason, Camden Chat ran an article about each member of the Orioles’ 40-man roster. During the 2022 season, we will update newcomers after they arrive on the roster.

How it happened: Acquired from the Rays for cash on 8/2/22; had been designated for assignment by Rays 8/1

Who has left: Trey Mancini was traded to Astros in a three-team deal also involving Rays, 08/01/22

In the early 2000s, then-Ravens coach Brian Billick delivered one of the great quotes in Baltimore sports history when, after a huge playoff win on the road, he declared: “When you walk into the lion’s den, you don’t tiptoe in. You carry a spear, you walk in screaming like a banshee, you kick down any door and say, ‘Where’s the son? deputy?

This quote comes to me whenever there is also an underdog Orioles team, because its spirit still applies. To triumph over a team you’re not meant to beat, it’s essential to boldly believe that you can do it – that there’s nothing this stronger team on paper has that you don’t. have not too, or at least that you cannot overcome.

What this has to do with the newest Oriole Brett Phillips is very simple. On his first day on the job Wednesday, in his first conversation with members of the Orioles media as an Oriole, he said, “I’m here and I’m looking to win a World Series with the Baltimore Orioles. It would be really great.

When the Orioles picked up Phillips from the Rays in the hours leading up to Tuesday’s trade deadline, my first reaction was to scratch my head in confusion. Here’s a player whose career batting stats don’t seem to offer much to the Orioles that they don’t already have. He’s a career .189/.275/.349 hitter, and he’s done worse than that in the 2022 season. That’s why the Rays picked him up for assignment after acquiring another mediocre outfielder, Jose. Siri, as part of Mancini’s three-team deal. In bWAR, Phillips was negative for this season.

The Orioles already had Ryan McKenna as a fourth outfielder, a role he seems well suited for. At first I thought maybe they would send McKenna when Phillips arrived, but no. At least for now, these two players co-exist on the roster.

Southpaw Phillips offers the opposing peloton separate from right-hander McKenna, so that’s something. Still, that doesn’t seem like a very effective use of the roster if you have two different fourth outfielder platoon options. I’m also concerned about the opportunity cost of getting on the list. There are minor league players that the team eventually needs to evaluate at the MLB level. As a bench player, Phillips may not cost them much that way. But if you had asked me before the trade deadline, I would have preferred to see Kyle Stowers here.

Part of the explanation is surely that Phillips was a guy drafted by Elias. The Astros picked him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, the same one where Houston surprised people by picking Carlos Correa first overall. Phillips was traded before playing an MLB game before the Astros, but I’m sure Elias knows what he’s getting. He shared his views in remarks on Wednesday:

His reputation in the league is certainly well known as a wonderful teammate and clubhouse guy, but we brought him in for his defensive profile, left-handed bat and positive speed… He’s more like a player outfielder that I think Brandon is going to be able to plug into places where he can impact the game because he has tools that when deployed in the right place at the right time can make him a player impact.

The very first sentence of the MLB article I linked to at the start described Phillips’ ‘infectious personality’, and it’s visible if you watch the video, where it looks like he never stops smiling. . Imagine this: a guy was traded to the Orioles and he can’t stop smiling! You don’t see that every day. Roch Kubatko’s post quoted above uses similar wording for Phillips: “He never seems to have a bad day. The smile never leaves his face.

It’s easy for fans to downplay the value of things like having a “nice clubhouse guy” in the mix. In the baseball media, there’s often a lot of afterthought about players not being good. Phillips certainly seems like one of those guys. Sometimes it’s a bunch of nonsense and sometimes they really offer something invisible to the public eye.

On Tuesday night’s MASN show, Melanie Newman described one way Phillips makes an impact: he walks around, gets attached to players and decides they’re friends now. It seemed endearing rather than boring.

For the 2022 season, Phillips, 28, has a salary of $1.4 million. He still has two years of team control left after that, if the team wants to take them. A reserve that hits badly won’t get a huge officiating raise, so it won’t be a huge expense. If they think he’s doing positive things behind the scenes and occasionally on the field, the Orioles will likely decide to keep him beyond this year.

Time will tell if Phillips is actually some sort of invisible “sticker” or not. I’m still skeptical about this. But also when you think about it, I’m a jerk who wants to believe that my favorite baseball team, which hasn’t won a World Series since I was born, is going to win a World Series one day.

A guy who walks into the door of a team that lost 110 games last season saying he wants to win a World Series here? Like Billick said 21 years ago, you don’t rush. The Orioles head into the lion’s den with the strength of the schedule remaining in the final two months of the season.

Phillips’ career batting line says we probably don’t want him to be the one with the spear, but if he tells anyone who’s never been on a winning team before you know what , we can take down this lion. .. well, it sure can’t hurt – especially as long as he never faces a left-handed pitcher. It would be really great.

Still to come: Cannon Yennier

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