"I've never been the type of person to sit around and do nothing. I've always been goal-oriented and success driven," Phillips said. "And you have got to make money to afford nice things and to live."
This is why Phillips has spent the past six offseasons working as a salesman at Marvin K. Brown Cadillac Auto Center in Mission Valley. Consider it an offseason occupation that's really more than just a job to Phillips.
"He's really good at it," said Dave Grundstrom, chairman and CEO of Marvin K. Brown. "He's a really good people person. His passion is baseball, but he loves cars. He's competitive. He likes things that will challenge him.
"We'll give him sales goals and he'll meet them and even exceed them."
Phillips, who will typically work seven days a week in the offseason, in upwards of 12 hours a day, has parlayed an interest in cars into a job that helps pay the bills when the baseball season ends.
How did Phillips, a San Diego native, end up selling cars?
"I've always had an interest in cars, not necessarily fixing cars, but like exotics, old cars, different things," Phillips said. "I turned 18 and I signed and played that first year. When I came home I got this wild hair to buy some cars and see if I could make any money on them.
"I was doing pretty well with that and a friend of mine said, 'why don't you go sell cars?' I was like, 'No, those guys are liars, they steal. I'm never going to be that guy.'
After about a month passed, Phillips reconsidered the suggestion, and drove to Marvin K. Brown for an interview with Grundstrom.
"I did pretty well for the couple of months I was there and he [Grundstrom] said, 'If you want to come back, feel free.' I've been there since," Phillips said.
Phillips has sold cars to teammate Aaron Harang and other athletes, like Brewers pitcher Sergio Mitre, who Phillips saw last week when the team was in Milwaukee.
Just as Phillips -- who was recalled from Double-A San Antonio on May 6 when catcher Nick Hundley went on the disabled list -- takes his job as a salesman every bit as seriously as he does baseball.
"I try to sell a car every other day ... so 15 cars every 30 days is pretty good, especially since you're [selling] cars where $35,000 MSRP is pretty much the minimum," Phillips said. "My sales pitch is just to be honest with them. I have nothing to lose. I just try to give them as much information as I can."
He's certainly got a good fan base back in the office rooting for him.
"We're so proud of him that he's stuck with it. Everyone here is so excited," Grundstrom said. "Everyone here keeps track of his stats. It's been a lot of fun."