Phillies GM Ruben Amaro spoke to the media on Friday afternoon after the Jimmy Rollins trade was finally made official. Naturally, Amaro was asked about the possibility of trading second baseman Chase Utley as the team moves forward in its rebuilding process. According to Amaro, Utley still wants to finish out his contract in Philadelphia.
Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
“I haven’t had enough of a discussion with Chase,” Amaro said. “The only discussions I’ve had with Chase and his agent about any of that is that Chase wants to be in Philadelphia. And so, we work through our offseason knowing Chase Utley will be in Philadelphia and be a Philadelphia Phillie. I don’t necessarily see that changing. Is it possible it changes? Maybe. But, again, regardless of that, we have to be listeners and think about ways to improve our club long term. Chase may or may not be a part of that. But right now Chase is a Philadelphia Phillie and he’s not going to go anywhere. He has no desire to go anywhere. Like I said before, he wants to honor his contract and that’s how we have to perceive it.”
Of course, Rollins sang a similar tune previously, also saying that he planned to finish out his contract with the Phillies. Utley’s tune may change as well, having lost his long-time double play partner. Utley released a statement following the Rollins trade, saying, “The team will miss his leadership on the field and his infectious smile, but most of all, I will miss our pre-game handshake.”
If the Phillies found a trade partner, they would still need to get approval from Utley, who has 10-and-5 rights.
Along with Utley, the Phillies could still explore trades involving Marlon Byrd and Cole Hamels. If they find teams desperate enough, they could even move Jonathan Papelbon or Ryan Howard.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.