The Reds’ interest in Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero – even though Walt Jocketty says they’re unlikely to sign Guerrero – is the strongest indication that the club will try to trade Brandon Phillips.

Guerrero projects as a second baseman. He reportedly agreed to a seven-year $32 million deal with the Dodgers in July but the contract was nixed because he had not been cleared by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control. He’s since been cleared. He’s likely to get that kind of money.

Scouts say Guerrero who played shortstop in Cuba projects as a second baseman. The Reds aren’t going to pay $4.5 million a year for a backup.

It could be that the Reds were looking at Guerrero as a shortstop and backed off when their scouts decided he could not play there.

But it’s more likely that they saw him as a replacement for Phillips.

Phillips ticked off a lot of people in the organization with his behavior this year. Bob Castellini was the driving force behind Phillips signing. Phillips basically called Castellini a liar in the Cincinnati Magazine article. Here’s the quote:

“To this day I’m still hurt. Well I don’t wanna say hurt. I’ll say scarred. I’m still scarred. It just sucks that it happened. For [Castellini] to sign somebody for $200 million there must be a new vegetable or fruit coming out that we don’t know about. For him to do something like that and tell me they didn’t have any more money that’s a lie. But what can I do? I just feel like it was a slap in my face.”

Phillips slapped the wrong guy in the face by saying that.

Given that offensive production was just average this year — Phillips was seventh in OPS among National League second basemen — the Reds could get similar offense for a lot less money.

Phillips’ contract makes it difficult to trade him. He’s owed $50 million over the next four years. Two clubs that could take that contract and not blink are the Dodgers and the Yankees. The Dodgers apparently would like to upgrade at second. That’s why they’re in the running for Guerrero.