Yesterday Ruben Amaro said that Chase Utley was likely to remain with the Phillies for the rest of the season. That was yesterday. Today he’s on his way to Los Angeles to join the Dodgers.
Ken Rosenthal first reported that a trade was possible today with Todd Zolecki then reporting that the Dodgers were the team with whom the Dodgers were negotiating. Jon Heyman just reported that the deal is all but done, and that it will involve the Phillies sending Utley plus $2 million to the Dodgers for 2 minor leaguers, yet to be identified.
Utley, of course, has spent his entire career in Philadelphia, where he has batted .282/.366/.481 in thirteen seasons. The heart and soul of the Phillies offense, he was the leader and star of teams which went to the playoffs every year between 2007 and 2011, winning the World Series in 2008 and another NL pennant in 2009.
But the Phillies’ competitiveness has since waned, as has Utley’s health. With the team in full rebuild mode, it became inevitable that Utley’s time in Philly was coming to an end, be it in a trade this season or in the Phillies declining to bring him back in 2016.
Now Utley, whose bat has come back to life since coming off of the disabled list, is back in a pennant race. This time with the Dodgers, where he’ll man second base until Howie Kendrick comes back and then likely assume a utility and pinch-hitting role.
Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.
Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.
During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).
2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.
Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.