Returning for the first time in four seasons, Chase Utley impressed in his sixth All-Star Game as the lone representative of the Philadelphia Phillies. He once again saw time as the starting second baseman for the National League as voted on by the fans, his first time since 2010.
Utley was placed seventh in the lineup. During his two plate appearances he doubled against Jon Lester in the second (missing a home run by about two feet), and was hit by a pitch from Chris Sale in the 4th. He would score in the 2nd on a Jonathan Lucroy double, and Dee Gordon pinch-ran for him to end his night in the 4th.
Despite Utley’s success, among that of other National League batters like Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez, the American League would beat the National League 5-3. The AL Champion will have home field advantage in the World Series this October.
The home-grown second baseman is the only representative of Philadelphia in this All-Star game, which does signal something about the strength of the team’s roster. Even in losing seasons, the Phillies have had multiple All-Stars every season since 2003 (that season’s leader? Randy Wolf).
In addition to enjoying the week, Chase spent time fielding questions about his potential trade status come the end of the month. Speaking specifically to Philly.com’s Ryan Lawrence, Utley reiterated his intention to stay with the Phillies, and again mentioned his appreciation of the fans and the city itself.
I haven’t ever envisioned leaving Philadelphia, honestly. I feel like I’m wanted in Philly. I feel like the fans appreciate the way I play. I feel like the front office appreciates the way I play. And I appreciate their support over the years. I don’t plan on going anywhere, but, again, if someone comes up to me and says you’re no longer wanted in Philly, then I’ll have to change my tune.
It’s hard to imagine any point where Chase is told he’s “no longer wanted,” as the city’s most popular athlete in at least a generation, and I don’t believe there’s a ton of interest to move him specifically from the front office.
On a night where Derek Jeter received the lion share of attention, it brings along extra sentimentality to the idea of trading Utley. While he obviously doesn’t compare when it comes to general baseball significance, I’d wager he means as much to Philadelphia as Jeter means to New York.
I’m very pro-fire sale with regard to the Phillies, but I’ll be irrational on this one point.
Imagine if the Yankees blew up the roster last season, after a disappointing year. Picture all the retirement ceremonies still happening with Jeter, only he’s in a Detroit Tigers jersey. Bud Selig would have an aneurysm, and I don’t think New York fans would ever forgive themselves.
Trade everyone else and the Phanatic if you want to, but I similarly don’t think Philadelphia fans would forgive themselves for trading Chase Utley.