In a report that makes the fanboy in me very happy, Todd Zoleki of MLB.com indicates that Chase Utley, by his own words, is unlikely to move at the trade deadline. The chances of Utley moving in particular have been pretty low, but these latest comments can be seen as a further dent to those odds.
Now six games back from the division-leading Washington Nationals, there are still 32 games between now and the July 31 trade deadline. In that time, you’d have to go not only reach .500, but probably get close to the division leaders (be a couple games OVER .500) to be “competing”.
That would mean that the Phillies would likely need to go around 10 games over .500 during that stretch, an unlikely 21-11 record. That’s a hypothetically reachable goal, but even then I don’t believe the Phillies should be looking to add anything at the deadline – it’s merely understandable if they don’t sell.
Utley, for his part, doesn’t see a firesale as likely, regardless. When asked directly about the possibility, he told Zolecki “Well, you’re creating situations that aren’t necessarily going to happen … I guess we’d have to see at that point, but I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
That’s a bit of Chase being a good leader and teammate, because comments by team GM Ruben Amaro have been largely open to the idea of a sale. He continued by saying that “I mean, honestly, I haven’t thought about [being traded].”
Even if a fire-sale is the plan in late July, it’s possible that Utley would still not be traded. He is the most valuable bat on the trade market, but he is the face of the franchise in a Derek Jeter, or David Wright sort of way that adds additional incentive to keep that player.
Additionally, he isn’t a contract that expires this or next season. With options, he could remain for up to an additional four seasons under his current deal, and has yet to actually display signs of decline.
Utley is almost certain to be the All-Star Game starter at 2B for the National League, and is hitting .295/.357/.456 with a 5 HR, 122 wRC+ and a 7.2 UZR/150 from 2B this season.