Part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ winter makeover included revamping the middle infield in the form of Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins; the 2015 season marked the first either was beginning the year on a new club.
Aside from that, both downplayed any concerns over developing the relationship and continuity required for double play partners excelling, and that manifested itself during Spring Training and into the regular season. With Kendrick currently on the disabled list due to a strained left hamstring, the Dodgers added an interesting wrinkle to their roster by trading for Chase Utley.
Like Rollins, Utley previously spent the entirety of his Major-League career with the Philadelphia Phillies. The UCLA product is expected to fill in at second base for the time being and potentially be moved around the infield once Kendrick returns.
Rollins understandably backs the Dodgers’ decision to acquire a teammate he won a World Series with in 2008 but that isn’t to suggest there’s a preference between Kendrick and Utley, evident by Rollins’ comments, via Lyle Spencer of MLB.com:
Howie is my guy,” Rollins said, “and Chase was my guy for a long time. There’s a lot of trust there, with both of them.”
While some speculated Utley’s arrival coincides with negative news regarding Kendrick’s return from the strained hamstring, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi refuted the notion. As was previously the case, Kendrick is expected to return by early September.
Slowed by injury, Utley’s 2015 campaign has been one to forget — though he’s been much improved in the two weeks since coming off the DL. Utley also brings with him plenty of postseason success and experience, and is professional enough to accept a role off the bench for the betterment of the team.