The Arizona Diamondbacks may be looking to trade one veteran infielder for another.
According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the D-backs and Cincinnati Reds have had discussions centered around an exchange of Aaron Hill for Brandon Phillips.
A number of obstacles could prevent a Reds-Diamondbacks deal from happening, starting with the fact that Phillips has the right to veto any trade as a player with 10 years of major-league service, five with the same team.
Securing his approval likely would be difficult; Phillips is comfortable in Cincinnati and one of the most popular Reds. Teams sometimes offer financial inducements such as contract extensions to persuade players to waive no-trade rights, but the D-backs might not want to do that for Phillips, who is 34.
Hill is slated to earn $12 million next season, the final year of his current contract. Phillips is set to earn $13 million in 2016 and $14 million in 2017, which could be a fairly steep price for the D-backs to pay.
However, there’s little denying Phillips — a three-time All-Star — would be a solid upgrade at second base. Last season, he hit .294 with 12 home runs, 70 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 148 games. Hill, on the other hand, appeared in 116 games at multiple positions and batted .230 with six home runs, 39 RBI and seven stolen bases.
Rosenthal noted that acquiring Phillips could offer Arizona enough flexibility to part with one of its younger infielders, such as Chris Owings or Brandon Drury, in an effort to land a starting pitcher in a trade.