Dodgers Finally Make Chase Utley Deal Official

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(Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Although it took several days to finalize the entire deal, the Dodgers officially announced the signing of veteran Chase Utley on Saturday morning.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was among the first to report the agreement earlier in the week. Per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, the contract is worth $2 million and will extend over the course of two seasons.

As far as his roles for the upcoming seasons go, Utley figures to occasionally see time at both second and first base, as well as being one of the team’s primary left-handed hitters off the pine.

”Whether it be starting in certain spots or coming off the bench, whatever the role I know Chase has been there,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Whatever is needed of him, I know he supports.”

While the signing of Utley is seemingly a sabermetrician’s nightmare, his leadership in the Los Angeles clubhouse was critical in the club’s deep run into the 2017 postseason. He’s probably the highest respected player on the team—so much so that the veterans were campaigning to the front office get a deal done all winter long. Ask anybody who follows baseball what they think of Utley, and the first words usually murmured are “work ethic.” Even among opposing players, his reputation around the majors is unparalleled.

The 39-year-old Long Beach native hit .236 with 20 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 34 RBI in 127 games in 2017, his third season with the club.

He was originally acquired by Los Angeles from Philadelphia on Aug. 19, 2015 in exchange for two minor leaguers and has hit .242 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI over 172 games since joining the Dodgers.

The six-time All-Star and four-time National League Silver Slugger winner has a career .276/.359/.469 slash line with 258 home runs and 1011 RBI over 14 big league seasons. He ranks among active second basemen in games played (1850, 3rd), runs (1085, 3rd), hits (1850, 3rd), doubles (401, 2nd), triples (57, 2nd), home runs (258, 2nd), RBI (1011, 2nd), walks (707, 2nd), on-base percentage (.359, 3rd), slugging percentage (.469, 2nd), extra-base hits (716, 2nd) and total bases (3139, 2nd).

Utley was originally selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 1997 draft out of Long Beach Poly High School, but did not sign, deciding to enroll at UCLA. He was then selected by the Phillies in the first round of the 2000 First-Year Player draft and went on to rank among the club’s franchise leaders in games played (1551, 8th), hits (1623, 9th), runs (949, 6th), doubles (346, 5th), home runs (233, 6th), RBI (916, 7th) and walks (625, 10th).

Lauren Douglas furnished some information provided in this report.

 

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