The Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday morning officially announced the signing of infielder Chase Utley to a one-year contract.
The deal is believed to be worth $2 million plus incentives, and was initially reported by Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times on February 10.
Utley, 38, hit .252 with 26 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs and 52 RBI in 138 games as the Dodgers’ primary leadoff batter last year, his second season with the club. He contributed in all facets of the game, and was honored with the Roy Campanella Award, which is voted upon by Dodger uniformed personnel, and is given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. In addition, Utley was the recipient of the MLB Players Alumni Association’s Heart and Hustle Award.
Utley was originally acquired by Los Angeles from Philadelphia in August of 2015 in exchange for two minor league players and has batted .242 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI in 172 games since joining the Dodgers.
The six-time NL All-Star and four-time National League Silver Slugger winner has a career .278 batting average with 250 home runs and 977 RBI in 14 combined big league seasons with the Phillies and Dodgers. Utley ranks among the leaders of active second basemen with 1722 games played, 1042 runs, 1777 hits, 381 doubles, 53 triples, 250 home runs, 977 RBI, 675 walks, a .361 on-base percentage, a .472 slugging percentage, 684 extra-base hits and 3014 total bases.
Utley has appeared in 59 career postseason games, recording a .241/.377/.441 slash line, going 47-for-195 with seven doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 27 RBI. He was also a member of the 2008 World Series champion Phillies.
Utley was originally selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach Poly High School, but did not sign, eventually enrolling at UCLA. He was then selected by the Phillies as the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft and went on to rank among the club’s franchise leaders with 1551 games played, 1623 hits, 949 runs, 346 doubles, 233 home runs, 916 RBI and 625 walks.
Skipper Dave Roberts figures to utilize him primarily in a bench role, but says Utley may still see substantial time starting at second base as well as limited time at first base.
To create room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers released infielder/outfielder Darin Ruf. The 30-year-old Ruf was acquired by the Dodgers from Philadelphia on Nov. 11, 2016 with Darnell Sweeney in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Ruf has recently been reported to be pursuing other baseball opportunities overseas.
(Jon Chapper furnished some information provided in this report)