The clock could be ticking on a Chase Utley deal. And if he approves a trade out of Philadelphia, many are expecting a deal to be completed before the Phillies begin a short, two-game homestand Tuesday with the Blue Jays.
Chase Utley did not play in the Phillies’ finale Sunday at Miller Park, which only fueled the speculation he could be moved soon. Utley is 13-for-26 in seven games since returning from the DL with five doubles, a home run, a walk and three strikeouts.
The Angels thought they had a deal in place for Utley on Friday according to multiple reports. The Angels are still hoping a trade can be worked out for the veteran second baseman. Ken Rosenthal reported “the Angels were pessimistic about their chances” of acquiring Utley and one of Rosenthal’s sources believe the Angels are “out” of the Utley derby.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Utley might want to stay in the National League and would like to be traded to a contender on the West Coast, “preferably in his native Southern California.”
The Giants and Cubs have made an offer to the Phillies for Utley, and the Dodgers have also been linked to him. Before Utley gives his stamp of approval on a trade, he has to be satisfied with the amount of playing time he is being guaranteed. Utley plans to play beyond this season. To put it simply, if he is not playing he will not be able to create a market for the off-season.
The Cubs “remain in the mix for Utley” according to Ken Rosenthal and Gordon Wittenmyer. The Cubs can offer Utley regular playing time at second base. Rosenthal explained the Cubs “attempted to trade for him in July when he was still on the disabled list.” Rosenthal’s sources indicated the Cubs are “not his first choice, and club officials might not want to disrupt the team.”
If the Cubs and Phillies are trying to persuade Utley to accept a deal, the Cubs should walk away. Persuading a player to join a team in the middle of a season seldom works out … see McGriff, Fred.
The Phillies had scouts at The Cell throughout the weekend watching the Cubs according to multiple reports. And both Starlin Castro and Chris Coghlan fielded questions about the Cubs interest in Chase Utley.
Ken Rosenthal is not sure if Utley will be traded and there is a strong possibility he could stay with the Phillies. Rosenthal pointed out “Utley never has asked for a deal and would leave the Phillies only reluctantly.” Utley signed the extension in August 2013 “believing that he would remain with the club for the rest of his career.”
Rosenthal also explained the Phillies may decide not to move him because the front office could not make a deal that would benefit the organization moving forward. The Phillies may not be willing to trade Utley for “a meager package” and teams “are reluctant to pay a significant acquisition cost for a seven-week rental” who is owed a lot of money for the remainder of the season, plus a $2 million buyout on the 2016 option.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer said the front office would explore every option in order to improve the team. But if the reports are accurate and the Phillies have received multiple offers for Utley, it might be time for the Cubs to focus on other options to improve the roster.
- Full Report from Ken Rosenthal
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago