Dodgers News: Farhan Zaidi Clarifies Chase Utley’s Role

Chase Utley 3

The Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines in the world of Major League Baseball on Wednesday with the acquisition of Chase Utley. The 36-year-old has spent all 12 years of his professional career with the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization and blossomed into one of the most respected players in the game.

Although the California native had been dealing with ankle issues during the beginning and middle of the season, Utley finds himself healthy since coming off of the disabled list and ready to make a contribution. The left-handed hitter was acquired in wake of Howie Kendrick’s hamstring injury, as an insurance policy and as depth to this Dodgers roster, which needs all the postseason experience they can get.

General manager Farhan Zaidi clarified the role of Utley with the team beginning with his arrival on Wednesday by stating that Utley already has a slot to fill, via J.P. Hoornstra’s Twitter:

Although many analysts would say that Utley is in the midst of perhaps his worst season, the second baseman had been dealing with critical injuries that would affect the batting approach of any Major League hitter. Since he has come off the disabled list however, the former World Series champion has had a rejuvenated approach. In the eight games since being activated, his slash line is .484/.485/.742, with five doubles, five RBIs and a home run.

In his career at Dodger Stadium, the four-time Silver Slugger has put up remarkable numbers. In 167 plate appearances, he is slashing .320/.389/.613, numbers that any Major League hitter would welcome their way.

With the impressive numbers put up at Chavez Ravine, Zaidi has a clear and precise idea of where Utley will be in the lineup:

The major point of confusion that comes along with the Utley trade is something that he stated in his press conference. With his 5-and-10 veto rights, the player chose a list of teams that he would approve playing for, on one condition. If he were to agree to a trade, he wanted a role on a team that involves him playing on a consistent basis.

Since Kendrick is currently on the disabled list and isn’t expected to go about a rehab assignment until September, we can expect to see Utley getting consistent starts at second base. This opportunity thus allows Kiké Hernandez to use his utility role to fill in other positions, such as giving Pederson and Jimmy Rollins a day off. When Kendrick returns towards the end of the regular season, Utley could have a different role with the ball club, via Eric Stephen of True Blue LA:

On the season, Utley is batting .217 with a .284 on-base percentage, five home runs, and 30 RBIs. Since returning from the disabled list, the UCLA alum has recorded a hit in every game he has played in, resulting in an eight-game hitting streak.


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