When we passed this along yesterday the word was that Chase Utley was going to miss five or six weeks as a result of his thumb surgery. Now the team is saying that it’s more like eight weeks.
Can a team can survive the loss of one of baseball’s best players for that long? If anyone can it’s probably the Phillies who have firepower elsewhere in the lineup, but this is simply a devastating blow. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said yesterday
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a situation where we have to go get
somebody,” but with Utley and Placido Polanco out, I’m not sure how they can avoid looking for infield help.
But who’s available? Maybe the best choice is Ty Wigginton, who is reportedly being shopped by the Orioles. He’s been hitting well this year and, while he’s a defensive falloff from Utley, so too is just about every other second baseman in baseball.
Of course, the Phillies could just slide Polanco back over to second base when he returns — it was basically his only position for the previous four years of his career — and look for a third baseman instead. I heard people talking about Mike Lowell yesterday, but he’s not healthy either right now and I doubt he’s going to be terribly effective even when he comes back.
Hank Blalock is out of a job too and probably still remembers how to play third base. No, he didn’t hit at all in Tampa Bay, but neither did Pat Burrell and he’s bounced back nicely since coming over to the senior circuit.
Nothing too inspiring out there, I don’t suppose, but it strikes me that Philly needs to do something to stay in the tight NL East race.