11/02/11 8:05 PM EST
First Gold, now Silver for Phillips
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Phillips had 30 home runs, 94 RBIs and 32 stolen bases in 2007, only the second Major League second baseman -- Alfonso Soriano was the other -- to join baseball's exclusive 30/30 club. But Philadelphia's Chase Utley won the Silver Slugger Award that year.In 2011, Phillips was a much easier choice. He led NL second basemen with a .300 batting average, 183 hits, 279 total bases, 94 runs scored and 38 doubles. Cincinnati shifted Phillips to the leadoff spot on Aug. 17, and he batted .350 over his final 38 games to seal the deal. Only Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks had more home runs than Phillips (20 to 18) or a better OPS (.818 to .810). Only Pittsburgh's Neil Walker had more RBIs (83 to 82). Only the Dodgers' Jamey Carroll had a better on-base percentage (.355 to .352). Phillips called it his best all-around season, and that's tough to argue considering he was an All-Star in July and won the Gold Glove Award on Tuesday. "Winning the Silver Slugger is probably one of the biggest things that's ever happened to me," he said in a conference call Wednesday night. Phillips is the first Reds second baseman to win a Silver Slugger Award since its introduction in 1980 and is the first Reds player to win the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the same season since Barry Larkin in 1996. Phillips spoke to Larkin on Monday, but didn't yet know that he had won the Silver Slugger. "I looked up to Barry Larkin -- I still do," Phillips said. "Seeing my name next to his, it shows that all dreams can really come true." The NL East had a stranglehold on second base in recent seasons. Dan Uggla won the award with the Marlins in 2010, and Utley was the NL's Silver Slugger second baseman in the four seasons before that. Before this year, the last Reds player to win a Silver Slugger Award was shortstop Felipe Lopez in 2005. It's been a big week for Phillips, who won his second straight Gold Glove Award on Tuesday and had his 2012 option exercised by the Reds on Monday. He will earn $12 million in 2012, and general manager Walt Jocketty has been open about a desire to extend Phillips beyond that. Earlier this week, Jocketty indicated that talks were going "OK," with Phillips' agents. "We really haven't broken any new ground yet," Jocketty said. When it was suggested that his run of awards had given him some leverage, Phillips said with a laugh, "That's what they say." "I just want to play baseball and have fun, be a big kid at heart, get the job done the best way I know how instead of someone trying to control you," he said. "The Reds did that for me, and if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have the success I'm having. Yeah, I have some leverage. I do. But whatever happens, happens. I'm just happy I'm having success." Phillips joked that he made room at home for the Gold Glove Award, but did not plan ahead for the Silver Slugger. He'd like to add one more piece of hardware before his career is over. "I'm still on a mission," he said. "I want a ring now. ... Seeing the Cardinals win it on TV, it hurt my heart a little bit."