CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Astros are the latest team to have shown interest in Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. They’re the sixth team with reported interest in the veteran, joining the Cubs, Angels, Giants, Yankees, and Dodgers. With All-Star Jose Altuve at second base, Utley would likely split time at first base and DH if he were to become an Astro.
Entering Friday night’s action, Utley was hitting .412 (7-for-17) with three doubles since returning from the disabled list on August 7. As of this writing, he is 3-for-4 with a double and two singles against the Brewers. He had been out since June 23 due to a right ankle injury. Upon hitting the disabled list, Utley carried a poor .179/.257/.275 batting line. During his DL stint, he said he found a flaw in his swing caused by the ankle injury, which he corrected.
Utley, 36, is owed the remainder of his $10 million salary for the 2015 season. He has an option for the 2016 season that is all but assured not to vest, so the odds are on him becoming a free agent after the season. Utley is reportedly seeking an assurance of playing time to waive his no-trade clause per his 10-and-5 rights.
Veteran reliever Fernando Rodney has been designated for assignment, the Athletics announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the club selected the contract of lefty reliever Wei-Chung Wang from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Rodney, 42, struggled to find his footing at the start of his second season with the A’s. He appeared in 17 games this spring, but harbored an unsightly 9.42 ERA during the span of just 14 1/3 innings, flanked by an equally disheartening 7.5 BB/9 against his 8.8 SO/9. While the right-hander isn’t far removed from his last productive campaign in the majors — as evidenced by the cumulative 3.36 ERA and 25 saves he delivered for the Twins and A’s in 2018 — the club evidently felt ready to take things in a different direction this season.
It’s still unclear whether this will mark the end of Rodney’s time in Major League Baseball; if so, he’ll finish a 17-year track in the majors with three All-Star designations, 908 career strikeouts, and 325 career saves (best among all active pitchers and 18th-best overall).
Without Rodney, the Athletics will look to former Brewers reliever Wang to bolster a bullpen that currently ranks fifth-best in the American League. The 27-year-old lefty hasn’t stepped on a major-league mound since 2017, but recently impressed in Triple-A after inking a minors contract with the team in February. He holds a 3.75 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and 8.3 SO/9 through his first 24 innings with the organization.