As the offseason winds down, many free agents remain unsigned. One of which is second baseman Chase Utley. Utley has spent the last 2 full seasons with the Dodgers after a long career in Philadelphia. At 39-years old, Utley still feels he has enough left in the tank to contribute.
Ken Gurnick reported that Utley has still been working out at Dodger stadium.
Chase Utley is a free agent. He’s also working out with a group of Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, for those wondering if a return might happen.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) January 22, 2018
While this alone may not mean a return is on the horizon, it’s a strong indication of interest on Utley’s part. Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi said at FanFest that the two sides are in continued discussions, as noted by Michael Duarte.
#Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said there’s been a lot of discussions with Chase Utley and theres a strong possibility he returns to LA if all parties can agree on a role
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) January 27, 2018
Utley’s days as an All-Star second baseman are past, but he can still provide value off the bench. Utley slashed .236/.324/.405 with 8 home runs, 20 doubles, and 4 triples in 353 plate appearances in 2017. While Utley isn’t a star anymore, he could be an insurance policy in case of injury to Logan Forsythe or Justin Turner. With the Dodgers’ luxury tax concerns, Utley could be the best value option to fill an important bench role.
If there’s one thing that can always be counted on with Chase, he’ll give all he has on every play. He leads by example, putting his body on the line any time it’s needed, even though he’s now 39-years old. He also is a mentor to the Dodgers’ young stars, specifically Corey Seager, as well as a leader in the clubhouse. As written by Jerry Crasnick back in October, the players don’t want to disappoint Chase. Crasnick’s story included a quote from Corey Seager, which perfectly sums up his impact.
“I’ve had my moments where he said something to me — not in an attacking way — and you feel bad because you disappointed him,” Seager said. “He’s able to do it the right way, without screaming and yelling and getting in somebody’s face, and I think that’s the perfect way to keep a team moving in the right direction.
“You don’t ever want to disappoint Chase. That’s a good word for it. He sees everything, even when you don’t think he’s looking.”
A potential Utley return hinges heavily on the two sides agreeing on financial terms. With the talk of the offseason being the luxury tax, it’s important that the Dodgers sign players who will give them the most for their money. Chase Utley just may be that guy.
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