Fri. Feb 21st, 2020

The Philly Sports Cave

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To Trade Or Keep Chase Utley

4 min read
Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Phillies were arguably very successful with the ways in which their deadline deals panned out. However, just because the July 31 deadline has passed does not mean that the Phillies are done wheeling and dealing, and our focus now turns to second baseman Chase Utley.

Chase Utley just passed through revocable waivers which means that he is now eligible to be traded to any team that he approves since he still has 10-5 rights, meaning that he can veto any trade. But, just because he can veto a trade does not mean that he will. Phillies’ beat writer, Todd Zolecki quoted Utley as saying that he would be “more than happy to listen” to any trade offers.

Before we jump to any conclusions on whether or not Chase Utley will be traded let’s take a look at the pros of keeping Utley as a Phillie and as offering him up as trade bait.

The Case for Trading Utley

By trading away Utley the Phillies are able to rid themselves of yet another massive contract; therefore opening up salary cap space for the future. While the Phillies may not need the extra cap space which would potentially open up from dropping the contract of Utley from the salary book right now, it is definitely a nice thing to be able to fall back on in the future when needed.

Along with the extra cap space an Utley deal would yield, a trade dishing Chase away would also grant more playing time to both Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez – two middle infielders who have the potential to impact the Phillies in a great way in the future. With more playing time for these two middle infielders brings with it experience which will result in the necessary development of leadership skills which are essential up the middle of the diamond. Keeping Utley up the middle has the possibility to delay the growing skill sets of both Galvis and Hernandez.

Finally, let’s not kid ourselves – Chase Utley is old, no longer producing, and is extremely injury prone. What’s the point of keeping a “used-to-be?”

On that note, The Case for Keeping Utley

Back to where we were, yes Chase Utley is old, he no longer has the deadly offensive and defensive skill sets which he used to, and he seems to always be hurt. This does not sound a tempting candidate to keep in Philadelphia, but it is even less a tempting trade opportunity for any other team in baseball.

Chase Utley’s value is low; I would be surprised to get anything worthwhile out of an Utley trade.

For that reason, it only makes sense to keep Chase Utley. While our beloved second baseman may not be producing on the field, he is still a very valuable asset in the locker room. Chase brings a veteran presence to a team that is made up of a majority of young players, and a veteran such as himself can teach the necessary skills to become a leader and a positive influence in the clubhouse. Utley can act as mentor for the entire Phillies’ clubhouse, but more importantly, he can act as a mentor for Galvis, Hernandez, and soon enough for J.P. Crawford.

While acting as a mentor and as a positive influence for the team he will also not be taking away much playing time from these young players up the middle. Freddy and Cesar may not get all the at bats or fielding opportunities they would in a Chase Utley-free middle infield, but Utley’s playing time is already minimal due to his injuries. For the minimal time that Utley would take away from the Phillies’ two young middle-infielders he would make up for that in his leadership in the dugout.

Chase Utley has been at the heart of the Phillies’ organization now for years, he has been through the ups and he has been through the downs. He is a man of composure, a characteristic which is necessary in a clubhouse full of youth.

The leadership and positive presence which Chase Utley brings to the locker room greatly outweighs any trade which the Phillies could put together for the all-star second baseman.

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