Trade speculation has been swirling around Chase Utley for the past couple weeks, with multiple contending teams being linked to the six-time All-Star second baseman, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said during a radio interview this morning that Utley “is likely to be with the Phillies for the rest of the year.”
Howard Eskin of WIP radio in Philadelphia suggests that means Utley rejected all potential trades presented to him by the Phillies, which was his right. However, it was assumed that he’d approve a trade to a contending team and particularly one in California. But apparently not.
Utley has looked great since coming off the disabled list last week, going 13-for-26 (.500) with one homer, five doubles, and a 1.308 OPS in seven games to convince potential suitors that he still has some gas left in the tank at age 36.
Confirming various reports, Giants general manager Bobby Evans told Chris Haft of MLB.com that the team has made a trade offer to the Phillies for six-time All-Star second baseman Chase Utley.
Utley has the ability to block any trade and there’s speculation that he wants assurances–either playing time or financial–from a prospective new team before agreeing to a move.
Utley hit just .179 in 65 games before going on the disabled list, but he’s shown some signs of life since returning last week by going 7-for-17 (.412) with three doubles in five games.
He’s owed about $4 million for the remainder of this season and Utley’s contract includes a $15 million option for 2016 that will fail to vest based on his limited playing time.
San Francisco second baseman Joe Panik is currently on the disabled list with a back injury, but it’s not expected to be season-ending and the assumption is that the Giants want Utley for a part-time role.
Now that Chase Utley is back from the disabled list the Phillies are very open to trading the six-time All-Star second baseman if contending teams have interest and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com says the Giants may come calling.
San Francisco second baseman Joe Panik is on the disabled list with a back injury and Salisbury reports that “the Giants had a scout in San Diego for the entire Phillies series and sources tell CSNPhilly.com that the scout was indeed keeping tabs on Utley.”
Utley was awful before going on the DL, hitting .179 in 65 games at age 36, but he played well on a brief minor-league rehab assignment and is 4-for-10 with three doubles since rejoining the Phillies’ lineup.
Salisbury notes that the Angels, Cubs, and Yankees have also been linked to Utley, who would have to waive his no-trade rights before any deal could happen.
Out since mid-June with an ankle injury, Chase Utley has completed a minor-league rehab assignment and the six-time All-Star second baseman will come off the disabled list to rejoin the Phillies’ active roster Friday.
Utley went 6-for-13 (.545) while playing two Double-A games and one Triple-A game, but remains a huge question mark after hitting just .179 in 65 games before the injury.
Utley was an above-average player last season and it’s possible a contending team could talk itself into taking a low-cost flier on him as an August trade pickup, but he’ll obviously need to put together a good stretch of games first to show that he’s not washed up at age 36.
Utley has an option for 2016 that will not vest because of his time missed, so he’s an impending free agent owed around $5 million for the final two months of the season and does have the right to veto any potential trade.
Even after bolstering their rotation with Scott Kazmir the Astros made a strong run at Cole Hamels, but a possible deal with Philadelphia came to a halt when Hamels used his no-trade rights to veto a potential move to Houston.
According to both Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com Hamels informed the Phillies at some point in the process that he would not accept a trade to the first-place Astros, causing them to focus on the eventual deal with the third-place Rangers.
Kazmir is merely a two-month rental for a team contending ahead of scheule, whereas the Astros no doubt liked the idea of being able to pair Hamels with Dallas Keuchel atop their rotation for several years of contending teams. It’s possible the Rangers’ offer would have topped the Astros’ offer anyway, but Houston’s involvement does signal that the Astros were willing to add significant salary now that they’re through the massive rebuild phase and firmly established as contenders.