Despite all signs indicating that Chase Utley is a lock to remain a Phillie past the July 31st trade deadline, Utley’s impressive first half and very good performance in the All-Star game appear to have some contenders trying their best to sway the Phillies to move the 35 year-old second baseman.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, both the Giants and Blue Jays, who certainly could stand to add a player like Utley before the deadline, aggressively checked in on the services of the lifetime Phillie.
4. Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies — Right now it doesn’t appear that Utley is going anywhere because he can invoke his 10-5 rights and it looks as if he wants to remain in Philadelphia. But there’s time. And it hasn’t stopped teams such as the Blue Jays and Giants from taking their best shot, and they likely will through the end of the month.
Utley is from California and the Giants would be better served having Marco Scutaro come off the bench than starting in the playoffs, so this seems like a natural fit on paper. That said, Utley and his wife Jen have a ton of local charity connections in Philadelphia and seem very comfortable here, so I just don’t get the sense he is prepared to move over 3,000 miles west.
As for the Jays, Utley would be an upgrade over Munenori Kawasaki, but he’d be joining a starting lineup with next to no playoff experience. The Jays can certainly rake, but with uncertainty about when Edwin Encarnacion will return, whether they have enough pitching to compete should they make the playoffs, and the fact that they are already four games out in a very crowded AL East, Utley could certainly find his fair share of reasons to veto any trade north of the border.
While I don’t necessarily agree with the approach that the Phillies are taking on Utley’s trade candidacy, or lack there of, I think even making calls on him at this point is just a waste. The Phillies aren’t going to seriously engage in trade talks for him, and he will veto just about any trade agreed on.