Well we reported recently that there was strong mutual interest in a reunion between the Dodgers and Chase Utley, and now it is official per Jon Heyman:
sources: chase utley has agreed to a two-year deal with the dodgers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 13, 2018
In bringing back the Silver Fox the Dodgers have brought back a clubhouse and fan favorite. With the 15 year veteran returning on a multi-year deal, the Dodgers keep his solid defense, and steady veteran presence. There is some question over whether or not the multi-year part of the deal was necessary or not. But either way, bringing back someone of Utley’s caliber and character is only a benefit. Especially when that rate is only going to be for a meager $2 million over two years:
Chase Utley’s deal is expected to be for two years and $2 million, when it is finalized.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 14, 2018
Despite being in his age 38 season, Utley still put up a strong campaign. With a 1.0 bWAR and 1.3 fWAR he was a very valuable bench player for the club. Considering FanGraphs currently tracks the value of 1 Win Above Replacement at approximately $7.5 million, having Utley for only $1 million per year is a steal.
Though his .236/.324/.405 was not particularly eye-popping his value wasn’t in his ability to hit. It was more so in his leadership abilities, hard work ethic, and solid defense. How can anyone forget Utley’s season defining moment when he kept Rich Hill’s no-hitter alive with this diving catch:
That play was so impressive, we even listed it among the season’s best moments. I do believe Joe Davis’ call of the play says it all. Ultimately, getting Utley back on the roster for at least two more years is a good thing. There is little reason why having him would be a bad idea. And the positives are numerous. His positive influence on younger players, great relationship with the coaches and front office, and being a fan favorite are just a few of the awesome traits Utley brings to the table.
He is also a very interesting Hall of Fame case. Though it is a forgone conclusion he’ll be a member of the Phillies if he enters Cooperstown, his case is unique. He hasn’t cracked 2000 hits, hasn’t hit more than 200 home runs, and his career triple slash doesn’t stand out. However, he actually currently ranks 11th in fWAR for second-baseman all-time. He ranks ahead of notable second-baseman like Ryne Sanberg, Willie Randolph, and even Roberto Alomar. Certainly, there is a case to be made.
In the end, Utley is definitely welcome back on the Dodgers. A huge welcome back to the Silver Fox!
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