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The Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup card is crowded as it is. However, there’s always room for improvement. Dee Gordon has been a pleasant surprise, though there are some notable second basemen on the trade market.
The club’s biggest area of need could be behind the plate, where A.J. Ellis has struggled with the bat and the glove and Drew Butera offers little more than an emergency reliever role. Let’s take a look at who the Dodgers may pursue over the next few days.
Contestant #1: Chase Utley
Fun piece of trivia: in 1997, the Dodgers drafted Utley out of high school in the second round. The two sides failed to come to terms and Utley would head to UCLA.
Three years later, the Phillies made him their No. 1 pick. The Dodgers selected two picks later and chose Ben Diggins.
Utley has been one of the best second basemen in the league for the past decade. A six-time All-Star, the 35-year-old Pasadena native is still productive on both sides of the ball.
And with the Phillies in the tank, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think Ruben Amaro Jr. could part ways with Utley.
What The Phillies Might Want: Joc Pederson, Zach Lee
Don’t expect the Phillies to give Utley away for nothing as he could definitely help a contender down the stretch. However, this asking price is too steep. His age and recent injury history (he’s only played more than 130 games once since 2010) are too much of a concern to part with a top prospect like Pederson.
What The Phillies Might Take: Zach Lee, Darnell Sweeney, Chris Reed
Lee has been struggling in Albuquerque, which is not a huge surprise but still has the ability to fit into the backend of a rotation. Same with Reed, though he eventually may wind up in the bullpen.
Sweeney would be Utley’s eventual replacement, however he’s been playing a good amount of center field lately.
Deal or No Deal: NO DEAL
In looking up Utley’s contract situation, I noticed a very peculiar structure to his contract. He’s signed through 2015 at $10 million, then has three vesting options at $15 million through 2018.
There are also provisions to cut his deal short if he suffers a knee injury. That type of risk just doesn’t seem like a good gamble, especially with how well Gordon has been playing and now that Alex Guerrero has recovered from his ear injury.
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