What started as a few casual groundball sessions became a video of possible futures and has now transformed into shocking reality first reported on many days ago: Chase Utley will be the starting third baseman for the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies.
Nothing instills hope in a playoff run like outlining a plan for next season, but with the Phillies decidedly eliminated from October, now is the time to get us thinking about next year. And we’ve got some questions. Well, one less, now.
We all knew Placido Polanco was being stripped for parts, leaving a gaping hole at third. The Phillies still need money to fill other, also gaping holes in center field and the bullpen, so an in-house solution to one of these problems could… boy, it could really help us out here.
Ideas like “Move Erik Kratz to third!” or “Move Chooch to third!” were spat upon, and in most cases, only heard by me, as I shouted them in a dark room by myself. But my problem was, I wasn’t thinking infieldy enough. Why, we’ll just move Chase Utley, already an infielder with some third base experience and coming off another stellar–if shortened–season.
Of course, there are concerns. Can he make the throw to first base? Will his knee hold up? What day is it? This room has been dark way too long for it to still be night. But these are things that, rest assured, Chase will train for 1,000x more than the average person would in his situation, until he has it down to a habit. At least, that is what I am telling myself to gloss over the concerns.
Stepping into his place will be Freddy Galvis, who was a human highlight reel to start the year off. It will be exciting to see the fielding phenom again, especially if he has learned how to hit during his time away.
Hmmm? What’s that? Yes, he did suffer a broken back before being suspended for a positive PED test. Is that… I don’t see how that’s relevant.
Charlie Manuel recently said that the areas of baseball he’d like to see the Phillies get better in are offense, defense, and pitching, which yes, are basically all of the areas of baseball. With Galvis in place, it should help one of his causes.
“His defense saves you runs.”
–Charlie Manuel on Freddy Galvis
And in retrospect this is important because
“Our defense definitely didn’t save us runs.”
–Charlie Manuel on 2012 defense
But who knows how this will effect the defense at third, putting a guy out there who hasn’t been there in ten years and assuming he’s got the ludicrous dedication to figure it out. Worst case scenario is that both players don’t take significant strides in adjusting–Galvis’ offense is questionable–and the Phillies face plant out the gate, hand Jonathan Papelbon another $12.5 million check, and call it a season.
Hey, though! It’s still 2012! It’s good to see Utley in a position where his knees aren’t under as much pressure and it’s great to see Galvis getting the chance to play the pivotal role he deserves; and we’ve got a nice, long winter to think about what we’ve done, and what we’re going to do.