It's now official. He'll be back for another year. Southern California native and avowed Dodger fan in his youth, Chase Utley will be back to play in Los Angeles for the 2016 season. He will make a reported $7 million on a one-year deal, and I suspect we'll see him playing a lot of second base - and possibly third base. He'll also be a good bat off the bench and provide important leadership in the clubhouse. Per Dave Roberts on Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
"You look at Chase Utley, the intangibles, I think he's a special player and can make our team better," manager Dave Roberts said on Monday, as seen on MLB Network.Per a Dodger press release:
Utley, 36, was originally acquired by Los Angeles from Philadelphia on Aug. 19 in exchange for two minor leaguers and batted .202 with three home runs and nine RBI in 34 games with the Dodgers during the 2015 regular season. He appeared in three NLDS games against the Mets and went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Overall, Utley combined to hit .212 with eight home runs and 39 RBI in 107 combined games with the Dodgers and Phillies last year, while appearing in the field at first base, second base and third base.As I'm sure you recall, Utley still has a two-game suspension hanging over his head from that slide during the playoffs, so he's not likely to be on the Opening Day lineup. Although, there has yet to be an appeal hearing over the matter, so it is all still in limbo. As reminder of "The Slide" watch it below.
The six-time All-Star (2006-10, 2014) and four-time National League Silver Slugger winner (2006-09) has a career .281 batting average with 236 home runs and 925 RBI in 13 big league seasons with the Phillies (2003-15) and Dodgers (2015). Utley ranks among the active leaders in games played (1585, 3rd), runs (963, 1st), hits (1648, 3rd), doubles (355, 2nd), home runs (236, 2nd), RBI (925, 2nd), on-base percentage (.365, 1st), slugging percentage (.479, 2nd), extra-base hits (641, 2nd) and total bases (2811, 2nd) as a second baseman.
In celebration of Utley's return to the Dodgers I made the above two fantasy cards of him. At the very top I used a photograph by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015 and the 1982 Topps Baseball card design. Directly above I used the 2015 Topps Baseball card design and a photo grabbed from the LA Times.
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