Chase Utley Traded?

admin Last updated on: February 17, 2024

It’s that time of the year again.  July 31st is now less than a week away, and trade speculation continues across the MLB circuit. National and local media are used to plenty of Phillies’ rumors swirling around during the 2013 MLB trade deadline. But this year, the Phillies’ role in the mid-summer swap-fest has changed from buyer to seller.

This year, rather than the Phillies’ front office trying for another playoff push with an aging ball club, the organization has been fairly quiet in the wheeling/dealing department.  Speculation remains rampant, and has all season, for whether big name pitchers like Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon will be dealt to save money on this year’s payroll. Of course, the hope when you trade away veteran pitchers like Lee and Papelbon is that a trade can land value for the ball club and its farm system. In the past couple of years, Ruben Amaro depleted the farm system to bring Major-League-ready talent to Philadelphia, but times have changed.

This year is turning into a hard pill to swallow for Phillies’ hopefuls.  The infusion of Dominic Brown’s new found production, the return to form for Chase Utley, and a staff littered with top-rung talent must have had some Phillies’ fans thinking this year could be different than last year when they missed the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.  As it sits today, Phillies’ remain three games below .500 and at the 101 game mark. It would be a long shot to catch the Atlanta who currently sits atop the division. The Phillies’ have only 9 games left against the Braves and 61 ballgames overall to erase an 8 game deficit.

Despite the Braves sputtering through July with and 8-10 record, the Phillies’ front office still hasn’t shown any interest in making a move to improve the club and make one final run with this current core group of players. Although the Phillies’ may not be mathematically out of the NL East pennant race, the facts are the facts. Right now the Phillies’ are not a winning team.  Phillies’ fans probably have not been thrilled to hear phrases like breaking apart and rebuilding because the future is something Phillies’ fans haven’t had to consider in the while. With their string of 5 division titles ending less than just a year ago, the last time Phillies’ fans thought about the future was when they were excited to have young core players like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels rocketing their way through the farm system and making huge impacts upon their arrivals in Philadelphia.

So if the proverbial knife in the side of Phillies’ nation is the idea of two straight playoff-less seasons, than it must feel like an extra twist when the whole world of baseball seems to think the Phillies’ golden boy, second-baseman Chase Utely may be used as trade bait to bring in some young prospects and officially begin the rebuilding process.

Utley, now 34, is in the last year of his contract. Despite his age and injury history, Utley remains one of the top 5 trade prospects around baseball for the upcoming trade deadline.  The Dodgers have been in the news most recently for expressing interest in Utley, but that didn’t stop speculation that he could end up in cities like Oakland, Kansas City, New York, (don’t worry, not the Mets) Baltimore, San Francisco or even Toronto.  That’s a lot of teams, eh?

However, we all have seen what Chase can do at his best.  Not long ago, Utley was expected to produce 30 homers and 100 RBI’s, hit 300 and lead his team to a world title year in and year out.

It’s not too often an offensive presence like that is also a second baseman.

For those who gave up on the Phillies’ and have not been playing close attention, it is important to note that Utley is having his best offensive season since 2009.  The knee injuries that has plagued him for the previous three seasons are no longer an issue. Utley’s OPS is above .900, catapulting him back into the category of being a top offensive producer at his position. Sabermetrics also has Utley as a top 5 fielder this year to boot.

Teams looking for a versatile pick-up are looking at Utley closely. GMs around the league are starting to gauge his value higher than other prospects like the Minnesota Twins’ prospect and ex MVP Justin Morneu because Utley offers far more versatility for a manager. Utley has played in 26 games at first base as a Phillie and a number of games as a third baseman.

So look for Utley to land somewhere else this week. Despite Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro saying he wants Chase to retire a Philly, the reality is that when Chase’s contract expires at the year end. The Phillies’ will not have enough money to re-sign Utley who will be looking to pen what could be his last major league contract.

One thing is for sure, the speculation is just that until the Phillies’ change their stance on Utley. It would be nice to have everyone from the ’08 World Series team retire a Phil, but come on, that’s dreaming! We will be lucky if anyone from that team retire a Philly in this day and age.

Unfortunately, our golden boy with his sweet swing, pretty wife, and mild demeanor might be shipping out and suiting up for a new team in just a matter if days. That’s the nature of the beast. The business side of things. No one really wants him to go, but the free market has taken it out of our hands. Utley will still likely command over 10 million dollars a year and this writer says that even if Utley does stick through this year, that the chances are slim for a second baseman that has declined to get over 10 million dollars a year when he is already in his mid-thirties.

So let me be one of many to say it. Just in case, good bye Chase, and thanks for the helping this generation of Philly sports fans enjoy their one and only title run. Thank you Chase, for making Philadelphia World Champions! World F**k**g Champions!

– Dan Angelo

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