CINCINNATI -- Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio that he has told second baseman Brandon Phillips the team is not in talks to trade him.
The comments come after an offseason full of swirling rumors that Phillips' off-the-field antics and less-than-needed on-the-field performance was to be his undoing in Cincinnati.
"(I told Brandon) we're a better team with him here," Jocketty told Christopher Russo on MLB Network Radio.
The Yankees reportedly inquired about Phillips' availability, but with the recent signings of C Brian McCann and CF Jacoby Ellsbury (More than $230 million combined total contracts), New York appears to have shown their cards as to what positions they're willing to pay big bucks for.
Fox Sports MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal wrote the Reds also received inquiries from teams on Phillips' 10-team no-trade list. None of those discussions were serious, according to Rosenthal.
Phillips, 32, is owed $50 million in the final four years of his contract as a Red, and while a trade is still not impossible for teams looking to spend a sizeable chunk of money on a second baseman, Jocketty's comments seem to seal the All-Star's presence in the Queen City for at least another year.
Jocketty said Wednesday that despite his absence from the official listing, Phillips has been invited to Redsfest this weekend, but that the team has left it up to him whether or not to appear.
"I think he will (come to Redsfest), he's very close to the fans and the fans are important to him," Jocketty said.
Jocketty also told MLB Network Radio that he expects Aroldis Chapman to remain in the closing role, rather than transitioning to the starting role.
"In all likelihood when we get to Spring Training, we'll make a decision for him to continue to be our closer," Jocketty said. "We have the depth in our rotation now that we can continue to keep him in the bullpen."
Jocketty went on to say that Chapman will go into Spring Training just like last year, throwing a lot of innings so he could go either way, but it is "probably the plan" to have him remain in the bullpen.
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