Chase Utley, one of the Dodgers’ most powerful clubhouse influences, is close to making a decision on his next stop.
Utley is considering four teams, according to Ken Rosenthal. The quartet consists of only contending teams.
Source: Free agent Chase Utley getting closer to decision. Only considering contenders. Down to four teams.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 10, 2017
Cleveland reportedly has interest in Utley. The Dodgers haven’t ruled out a reunion with the veteran. That may be half the list. We heard whispers the Rays and Braves could pursue Utley, but neither team qualifies under the “contender” label.
Utley’s most valuable purpose in L.A. is probably his leadership and role in mentoring the younger players. His play declined down the stretch, and with Logan Forsythe manning second, Utley’s playing time will take even more of a dip.
In the American League, Utley could extend his career via the designated hitter role. It’s unclear if that’s one of his interests.
Retaining Utley, if that’s the Dodgers’ goal, would be another offseason win for the organization. It kept its three biggest free agents in Rich Hill, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen. It acquired a right-handed second baseman who leads off without denting its farm. Keeping Utley in as a bench bat could be the cherry on top with spring training two weeks away.