As expected, on Tuesday the Los Angeles Dodgers and veteran second baseman Chase Utley agreed on a deal that will unite the two parties for at least one more season. Though terms have yet to be announced, the Utley and the Dodgers have been in serious talks about a deal for some time, making this conclusion al but inevitable. Early this morning, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported on Twitter that it was done.
sources: dodgers are indeed bringing back chase utley. great for clubhouse, team
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 13, 2018
Chase Utley will Return to Los Angeles
Utley, 39, will head into his third season with the Dodgers, his hometown team. Los Angeles considers him an excellent veteran presence in the clubhouse, and he still provides offensive and defensive value off the bench. Utley, who made his major league debut in 2003, has spent his career with just two team: the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies.
From 2003 to the middle of the 2015 season, Utley locked down the middle of the infield for the Phillies. With Philadelphia, he earned six All-Star nominations, won four Silver Slugger Awards, and captured the 2008 World Series title. Across his career, Utley has accumulated a .276 batting average, 1,850 hits, and 1,011 RBI.
Utley has had an impact on the way the game is played. During Game 2 of the 2016 Division Series against the New York Mets, Utley slid hard into second base in an attempt to break up a double play, and ended up breaking Ruben Tejada‘s leg in the process. Many derided the slide as dirty, but that was hardly clear. Because of that slide, MLB changed the rules that govern how players may slide into a base.
Arguably, Utley’s best statistical season came in that 2008 campaign. He racked up 33 home runs, a career high, 104 RBI, a .292 batting average, and a .915 OPS. He earned an 8.8 WAR, also a career high. He hasn’t been the same player with the Dodgers that he was for so many years with Philly, but Utley can still play. As recently as the 2016 season, Utley hit 14 home runs and batter .252, and was good for a 2.0 WAR. Health and playing time will factor into, and probably limit, his on-field contributions this season, but his contributions to the clubhouse remain valuable.
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