The Philadelphia Phillies have traded second baseman Chase Utley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor leaguers.
Utley has played with the Phillies since 2003. The trade reunites him with his double play partner Jimmy Rollins who the Dodgers acquired during the off-season. Utley and Rollins were part of a Phillies team which won five consecutive NL East titles, two NL pennants and a World Series title in 2008. The impetus for this trade was a hamstring injury to Howie Kendrick earlier this month. Both the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels were interested in Utley as well. The Giants regular second baseman Joe Panik is also on the DL while the Angels wanted an upgrade over Johnny Giavotella.
Utley was arguably the best second baseman in the NL between 2005 and 2010. He drove in 100 or more runs for four consecutive seasons and has been named to six NL All-Star teams. But at 36, Utley is past his prime. In 73 games for the Phillies in 2015, Utley hit .217 with 5 HR and 30 RBI. Utley went on the DL in June with an ankle inflammation, an injury which prompted Ryne Sandberg’s abrupt resignation as manager.
However, Utley is from Pasadena so he is basically returning home. He also goes from a last place to a first place team. The Dodgers presently have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Giants in the NL West. The dual presence of both Utley and Rollins could help unite a Dodgers clubhouse which hasn’t always been on the same page.