MLB Free Agency: Chase Utley Fielding Multiple Offers, Nearing Decision
Though a return to the Dodgers now appears unlikely, Chase Utley is reportedly deciding between offers from multiple teams.
Once the best second baseman in the game, Chase Utley is still a free agent. He’s 38 years old and likely not an everyday player anymore. Despite his advanced age, World Series ring, and financial security, Utley still wants to play. The Dodgers have replaced him with Logan Forsythe, meaning Utley will need to find a new home in 2017.
Under different circumstances, Chase Utley would have likely signed months ago. The Dodgers refused to count out his return, though they scoured the market for second base upgrades the entire offseason. They’ve acquired an everyday keystone player in Logan Forsythe, but Dodgers exec Andrew Friedman won’t rule out bringing Utley back.
“You never say never with a guy like Chase, just because of the type of guy he is, and the impact that he has. But it’s one of those things where we probably would have re-signed Chase months ago if our lineup was more balanced.” – Andrew Friedman (Courtesy of LA Times)
It’s possible that he could spend another season in Dodger blue, but highly unlikely. In fact, the market for Chase Utley has been heating up since the Dodgers acquired Forsythe. According to Jon Heyman, Utley has multiple offers and is nearing his decision.
chase utley has multiple offers, and is expected to pick one relatively soon
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 31, 2017
Though I’m only speculating, the Royals, Angels, A’s, Padres, Rays and Pirates all make sense on paper. Of course there’s the small chance he returns to the Dodgers, and the Cardinals may be interested if they are still not comfortable with Kolten Wong in the majors. While the Mets, Braves and Marlins all have a spot for him (mostly on the bench), Chase Utley has made a career out of infuriating these teams and fanbases as a member of the Phillies. Additionally, Utley might not be ready for a reserve role.
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Judging from his performance last season, he still has something left in the tank. Though he only registered a .715 OPS, Chase Utley managed to provide value on the field. In 138 games (565 AB), Utley slugged 14 home runs, 26 doubles and drove in 79 runs. That production was good for 2.0 fWAR. His offense was slightly below average (97 wRC+), but his work with the glove is superior to most. He’s no longer a star, but Chase Utley can be a valuable contributor to a team that intends to make the postseason.