Following Wednesday night’s victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, longtime Phillies fan favorite Chase Utley walked off the field at Citizens Bank Park for what would turn out to be the final time wearing red pinstripes.
Utley tipped his cap to the crowd as he stepped into the dugout, acknowledging the applause, cheers, and even a few tears from those fans, who had been hearing all evening about a pending trade.
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As the assembled media entered the team locker room, immediate observations were made that Utley’s locker was completely cleaned out. Not just mostly cleared for a long weekend road trip to Florida, where the Phillies will take on the Miami Marlins beginning tonight. This was empty, as in “never coming back again” empty.
The media was asked to hang around, and about an hour after the game, Utley and GM Ruben Amaro appeared for a relatively brief press conference, during which details of the trade were made available.
The Phillies have sent their beloved icon to join another, his longtime double play partner, Jimmy Rollins, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will also be a homecoming for Utley, who grew up in Pasadena as a Dodgers fan, and who attended Game 2 of the 1988 World Series between those Dodgers and the Oakland A’s with his father as a 9-year old boy.
We all know what the Dodgers are getting, one of the greatest and possibly the most beloved player in Philadelphia Phillies history, certainly rivaling that status held previously by Richie Ashburn.
What the Phillies are getting in return is modest. A 2-prospect package of IF/OF Darnell Sweeney and pitcher John Richy. Neither is considered a top-tier prospect, which is understandable, considering that Utley is now 36-years old and quite possibly a rental player.
Sweeney was the Dodgers 13th rated prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. An infielder/outfielder, the Phils have to hope that he can develop into a genuinely useful backup at the Big League level.
The Dodgers 13th round pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Central Florida, Sweeney has risen steadily through the LA farm system over the ensuing 3+ seasons. This year at AAA Oklahoma City, he was hitting for a .271/.332/.409 slash line with 9 homers, 49 RBI, 69 Runs, and 32 steals.
Richy was the Dodgers 3rd round choice in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The 23-year old is a 6’4″, 215 lb righty who Fangraphs rated as their #22 prospect back in March, saying that the hope was that he could be a “quick-moving #4 starter type.” If he is that for the Phils, they will feel very happy indeed.
Sweeney is being promoted by the Phils, and will make his MLB debut at some point this weekend in Miami, likely at 2nd base while Cesar Hernandez sees action at 3rd base.
Meanwhile, Utley travels to Houston, where JRoll and the Dodgers will be awaiting him. The Dodgers have a big series with the AL West-leading Astros this weekend in the Lone Star State.