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Dodgers: New Year, New Team Dad

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: David Freese #25 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of game five of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox on October 28, 2018 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Now that Chase Utley has stepped away from baseballon the field, anyway — the title of “team dad” must belong to someone else on the Dodgers. There are only a pair of candidates that would qualify for this position. David Freese (35) and Rich Hill (38) are the two oldest on the Dodgers roster.

Chase Utley spent 13 seasons in Philadelphia and his final 4 seasons in Los Angeles as a Dodger. The gritty second basemen has always been known for more than his 6 All-Star Game appearances, 4 Silver Slugger awards, and his many postseason appearances, which included a 2008 World Series Championship.

His interesting style of play and gritty slides into second base is what Utley has been known for. He worked his tail off his entire career and played the game the right way.

Kiké Hernandez is a fan favorite to most. There is no doubt that Hernandez will miss Utley. Oh don’t worry, there were t-shirts made for the best father-son duo in baseball.

Hernandez and Utley spent a lot of time together, not only in the off-season but during the year as well. Chase Utley is a very healthy guy, so he helped Kiké out with his diet.

The Replacements

Chase Utley’s got some healthy shoes to fill. Rich Hill and David Freese have each been in the league for more than 12 years. These two veterans have made their way around baseball, and both serve a big role in this Dodgers clubhouse, despite being the oldest of the group.

Rich Hill, or Dick Mountain as most may prefer, has a strong case for the new team dad role. Hill is entering his fourth big league season with the Dodgers in 2019. Most veterans at this age enter more of a “clubhouse guy” type of role, something that Utley has also provided these past few seasons as a Dodger. But make no mistake, Hill his here to compete. He has implemented himself as a key starter in this Dodgers rotation.

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/sorting-out-the-dodgers-starting-pitching-surplus/2019/01/02/”] Sorting out the Dodgers’ starting rotation surplus[/button]

Kiké and Rich have a unique relationship. Example A:

At the age of 35, David Freese has shown no signs of slowing down. David Freese will return to the Dodgers on a one-year deal. The Dodgers acquired Freese from Pittsburgh on the final day of August. He appeared in 19 games in the regular season and also played an important role in the postseason.

Freese will always be known most notably for his 2011 World Series walk-off home run in the 11th inning of game 6. The man can straight up hit in the month of October. His six RBIs in the 2018 postseason was just part of the reason the Dodgers reached their second consecutive World Series.

Final Thoughts

Freese is 3 years younger than the veteran Rich Hill. While they are both great fits, I would personally slate David Freese as team dad and Rich Hill as team grandpa. Chase Utley had the “silver fox” look. Freese is headed in that direction as well. Rich Hill just has grey hair, I wouldn’t necessarily consider him a fox in any way.

Someone must take over the team “team dad” role. Jean shorts, flip phone, and white new balances. Kiké will never have another dad like Chase. I’m sure Hernandez will have his say, just as long as there are more t-shirts made.

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/2019-key-dates-on-the-dodgers-schedule/2019/01/02/” type=”big”] Key dates on the Dodgers’ 2019 calendar[/button]

Written by Tyler Hawk

Currently living in Central California. Life-long Dodgers and Chargers fan.

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