According to multiple reports, the Cubs are one of at least six teams still in the mix for Chase Utley. And the Sun-Times indicated Friday, the Cubs “await the direction the second baseman and the Phillies want to go in the multi-layered process.”
The Phillies have received multiple offers for Chase Utley. Giants’ GM Bobby Evans confirmed Thursday night the Giants are one of those teams. Evans said the Giants have an offer on the table for Utley.
Jed Hoyer would not confirm the team’s interest in Utley prior to Friday’s opener on the South Side. Hoyer told the beat writers the Cubs are not close to making any deals. And Joe Maddon echoed Hoyer’s comments, the Cubs like the way the roster is currently constructed and playing together.
The Cubs and Angels could be ahead of Giants, Dodgers, Yankees and Astros according to multiple reports. The Cubs and Angels might be able guarantee playing time to Utley that the other four teams cannot for the remainder of the season.
Buster Olney reported Thursday, the Cubs have been talking to the Phillies for some time about Utley. Reports about the Cubs’ interest in the veteran second baseman surfaced just before the non-waiver trade deadline. The Angels’ interest in Utley, according to the L.A. Times, dates back to Spring Training and again before Utley ended up on the disabled list in June.
Chase Utley batted leadoff Friday and played second base at Miller Park in what could have been one his last games with the Phillies. Utley went 4-for-5 with a double and a RBI. Utley is 11-for-22 in six games since returning from the DL with four doubles, no walks and two strikeouts. Utley has scored three runs with four RBI.
While the Cubs have had scouts watching Utley, according to Todd Zolecki the Phillies have had a top scout in Chicago this week watching the Cubs. The Angels had at least two scouts at Miller Park on Friday night.
George Ofman reported again Friday the Cubs were “leading in the Chase Utley derby.” And Jake Kaplan reported the Cubs “appear to make the most sense” for Utley based on playing time he could be guaranteed that another team cannot offer.
Joe Maddon would not be surprised if the front office added a veteran to the roster this month. Maddon is also not expecting any additions.
Maddon explained, “I wouldn’t be surprised with anything, honestly. I know that they’re actively looking. But then again, this time of year, it’s hard to piece it together sometimes. I’m really pleased with what we have. We’re kind of finally figuring out how to fit all of the different pieces together … and that matters when you get that nice little flow going out there.”
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are open to making moves the front office feels would make the Cubs better over the final seven weeks of the regular season. And it appears the Cubs are focused on Chase Utley.
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