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Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Market Watch: Brandon Phillips

By Andrew Marchand

Brandon Phillips
If Cano goes elsewhere, will the Yankees show Brandon Phillips some love this offseason?
This winter will be a tumultuous one for the Yankees, with a lot of new faces expected to be brought in and old ones to depart. To keep up with it all in the blog, we will track each of the players the Yankees are trying to keep or pursue in a feature we call Market Watch.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is looking into his backup plans in case Robinson Cano does not return. The biggest name on the trade market is Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. CBS Sports reported that Cashman has "checked in" on Phillips.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported that Cashman has contacted the agent for the Detroit Tigers' Omar Infante.

Cashman is going to be calling around on a lot of guys, just to take the temperature of agents and fellow GMs. In this case, I would say Infante is a real fallback possibility, while Phillips seems unrealistic.

Phillips, who turns 33 next year, is owed $50 million over the next four seasons. If Cano goes, that could fit into the Yankees' budget. But Phillips is a guy whose OPS has declined the past three seasons from .810 to .750 to .706. Plus, he got mad at a Reds beat reporter for tweeting out his on-base percentage. Imagine if he had to deal with this guy?

The Yankees also don't have many chips to give up. Cashman is hesitant to trade prospects (see Corey Black-Alfonso Soriano). With limited resources, I don't see him going all out for Phillips.

Meanwhile, Infante makes more sense as a plan B. Infante, who turns 32 in December, is coming off his best season in which he hit .318 with a .795 OPS in 118 games. He made $4 million in 2013 and the Tigers did not offer him a $14.1 million qualifier.

Infante is not a great player, but he could be a solid bridge guy if the Yankees must replace Cano. If Cano was to leave, the Yankees would have to have a two-fold approach. First, replacing Cano in the field and then finding more power in the lineup. There is no available second baseman who can duplicate what Cano brings, which is why he may receive a contract worth more than $200 million.

If Cano leaves, I could see the Yankees trying to make an even harder push for Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, or possibly Shin-Soo Choo, if they are still on the market.

QUESTION: Would you want Infante or Phillips?