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Brandon Phillips traded to Atlanta Braves

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Posted at 6:57 AM, Feb 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-12 15:05:08-05

CINCINNATI -- It's a done deal: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds second baseman and a fan favorite, has been traded to the Atlanta Braves. The move opens up the infield, likely for top prospect Jose Peraza.

The Reds picked up right-hander Carlos Portuondo, 29, and left-hander Andrew McKirahan, 27, in Sunday's deal. Neither is on the 40-man roster, and neither is invited to big league camp

"We appreciate Brandon's contributions to our organization," president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. "He excited our fan base and was an important part of several seasons of winning Reds baseball. We wish him well with this next opportunity."

FAY: It's a shame it had to end this way

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported the deal was likely late Saturday. By Sunday morning, ESPN's Buster Olney reported it was "finished."

Phillips, 35, was in the last season of a six-year, $72.5 million contract with the Reds. Cincinnati will pay most of the $14 million he's owed this year, Rosenthal reported.

Despite his enormous popularity with fans, WCPO's John Fay suggested last month that Peraza would be a better choice at second than Phillips based on performance.

COLUMN: All the data say dump Phillips

"It’s the toughest call of Dick Williams’ short tenure as president of baseball operations, although ultimately it’s CEO Bob Castellini’s decision," Fay wrote Jan. 12.

Phillips had full no-trade rights as a player with 10 years of service time and five with the same team, and he'd blocked trades in the past. It's not clear what moved him on the Atlanta deal, though it puts him in his hometown.

The move also is a change of heart for Reds ownership, who as recently as last month weren't prepared to eat his $14 million salary.

More from Reds vice president of media relations Rob Butcher:

McKirahan, 27, originally was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 21st round of the 2011 first-year player draft. He was taken by the Miami Marlins in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft and on April 1, 2015 was claimed off waivers by the Braves.

McKirahan has posted a sterling 2.20 ERA in 96 career minor league appearances. He pitched in 27 games for the Braves in 2015 but missed the entire 2016 season recovering from "Tommy John" surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

Portuondo, 29, was signed by the Braves in February 2016 as an international free agent from Cuba, where he made 44 starts and 81 relief appearances for Santiago in Cuba Serie Nacional. He spent last season in the minor leagues pitching for Atlanta's Class A affiliate at Carolina and Class AAA club at Gwinnett.