Second baseman Brandon Phillips, known by his fans as Dat Dude, has a new home. Hours after nabbing Justin Upton from Detroit, the Los Angeles Angels added more depth courtesy of the Atlanta Braves late Thursday night with the acquisition of Phillips, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Brandon Phillips headed to #Angels, source tells The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 1, 2017
Angels Acquire Brandon Phillips
Phillips played 25 games at third base as of late with Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies garnering playing time up the middle, so this move works two-fold. It allows the Braves to get more looks at Johan Camargo and Rio Ruiz at the hot corner, while also allowing the veteran to return to second base on a contending team. The Angels currently sit 1.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
Dat Dude hasn’t skipped a beat
The 36-year-old second baseman is known for bringing a flare and a smile to the ballpark, but in 2017 he brought a bat as well. Seen toward the end of his time in Cincinnati as a liability in the middle of the order, he really hasn’t fallen off much if at all from his production in 2015-16. In 120 games with the Braves, he’s slashing .291/.329/.423 (all above his career averages). That goes along with 27 doubles, 11 homers and 10 stolen bags. According to the metrics, his defense at second base took a bit of a step back with -5 DRS in 88 games, but he still has four Gold Gloves on his mantle.
Adding Phillips to a lineup with Upton, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols signals Billy Eppler and the Angels are going for it, a rare sight for the club in recent years. An interesting note regarding the Braves involves possible plans for Phillips after the 2017 season, per David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Coppy said #Braves will strongly consider trying to re-sign Phillips. Camargo and Ruiz will get most 3b time rest of season.
— David O’Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 1, 2017
In return, the Braves received minor league catcher Tony Sanchez from the Angels to complete the trade. Sanchez is a 29-year-old backstop that has seen time in the big leagues with the Pirates between 2013 and 2015, the club which drafted him in the first round in 2009. In 70 games at Triple-A Salt Lake City in 2017, he hit .272/.355/.374.