Over a two-day span this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers added experience to their organization by bolstering the roster with the trade for Chase Utley, and hiring Ron Roenicke to replace Lorenzo Bundy as third base coach.
Utley, a veteran second baseman with plenty of postseason experience and one World Series ring, came to the Dodgers as an insurance policy, with starter Howie Kendrick expected to be sidelined until September.
While acquiring Utley helps provide an immediate boost to the second base position, there are multiple years remaining on his contract — albeit in the form of vesting options. Prior to making his Dodgers debut Friday night, the 36 year old discussed contributing this season and his intentions to play beyond 2015, via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
I feel like I have some gas left in the tank,” Utley said, adding that he “absolutely” expects to play beyond this season.
The Dodgers are only covering $2.13 million of Utley’s remaining salary this season as the Philadelphia Phillies also over $380,000 in cash considerations to Los Angeles as part of the trade. Additionally, once Utley waived his 5-and-10 veto rights, he received a $1.13 million bonus directly from the Phillies.
The three vesting options on Utley’s contract are at $15 million per season. Should the Dodgers instead opt to buy him out prior to the 2016 season, the $2 million cost would be covered by the Phillies.
Utley went 0-for-4 in Friday’s loss, though he wasn’t alone in struggling at the plate as the Dodgers were no-hit by Houston Astros right-hander Mike Fiers.
Utley’s ankle injury, suffered in January, resulted in a poor first half of the season and ultimately a stint on the disabled list beginning June 24. He returned Aug. 7 and has swung the bat at a better clip.