In a sign that the Rays might be guarding against injuries to outfield players, Tampa Bay has acquired OF Brett Phillips from the Royals for prospect Lucius Fox.
Phillips, 26, is incredibly fast, with 95th percentile speed, and has major league playing time spread across four seasons in the majors with a career .205/.282/.344 (65-for-317) hitter with nine home runs in 136 games.
Selected by the Houston Astros in the sixth round of the 2012 June Draft out of Seminole High School in Seminole, FL, Phillips will become the third product of Seminole High to play for the Rays, following first baseman Casey Kotchman (2011) and catcher Bobby Wilson (2015-16). He was traded by the Astros to the Brewers on July 30, 2015 and by the Brewers to the Royals on July 27, 2018.
Phillips has spent time at all three outfield positions in his career and has not committed an error since his major league debut on June 5, 2017. He appeared in 18 games (eight starts) for the Royals this season, batting .226/.294/.387 (7-for-31) with a home run and three stolen bases.
In exchange for Phillips, the Rays will be sending a likewise speedy player with defensive flexibility in SS Lucius Fox, the main return in the Matt Moore trade with the Giants from 2016. Phillips has a stronger defensive reputation, despite being limited to the outfield, but has a 70-grade arm, per FanGraphs.
Overall, Phillips has a profile closest to what the Rays have in CF Kevin Kiermaier, although Phillips has yet to find a starting role, accumulating +15 DRS and +13.8 UZR in only 608.1 innings in CF. Phillips exceeded rookie limits during 2018 season, which means he will be arbitration eligible in 2022, and under team control through 2024.
This is the second trade acquisition the Rays have made mid-2020 season after picking up reliever Edgar Garcia from the Phillies. The team is expected to be aggressive in the coming days ahead of Monday’s 4 PM EST trade deadline.
OF Brett Phillips is of no relation to our site’s social media manager Brett Phillips, whose birthday is today. What are the odds, though!?