By Wick Terrell

Six hundred and thirteen times in his career, Brandon Phillips has seen his name written in the 4th spot in the batting order for a game in which he started. In that time, he’s logged 2,653 plate appearances as the primary cleanup hitter for the Cincinnati Reds through the last handful of seasons, a number that eclipses the combined totals from when he’s hit 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th (2,573).

Phillips continued to flash his characteristic sparkling defense in 2014, and that’s the asset the team will count on as he plays out the final 3 years and $39 million left on his contract. The four-time Gold Glove winner again posted a solid defensive season, ranking among the Top 5 qualified 2Bs in UZR, UZR/150, and defensive runs saved (per FanGraphs) while making big plays seems as routine as he did in his 20’s.

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