No, I am not crazy, nor is there an odorless gas in my house (I think).
What do the 2016 Phillies currently have? Youth. What do they severely lack? Veteran leadership in the clubhouse. With Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz expected to be gone next season, the oldest player projected to be on the 2017 team is Cameron Rupp at the ripe age of 28.
Additionally, the future at second base is weak to say the least. Scott Kingery is the only legitimate second base prospect in the system, and he is still working his way up in Single-A.
You know what you have in Cesar Hernandez; a career utility player who can hit .260, and give you defense off the bench. He’s a future Greg Dobbs/Eric Bruntlett, but infinitely more talented than Michael Martinez.
The free agent market at second base is completely bare as well. That means two things: teams won’t be needing to sign second basemen, and that the Phillies are seemingly stuck with Cesar Hernandez at second base for the foreseeable future. The only legitimate second base free agent will be Jose Altuve in 2020. Until then, you are rummaging through the Kelly Johnsons’ of the world.
That brings me to one conclusion: bringing back Chase Utley. This allows Chase to have his well-deserved good-bye tour in Phillies pinstripes. One of the greatest hitters in the history of the organization is given a chance to comeback and finish his career where he started.
And if the Phillies have to trade him again, they get another mid-level prospect in return. It’ll be a win-win situation either way for the club.
Only four Hall of Fame second basemen have at least 250 home runs and 1,000 RBI. Should Utley return for another season, he’ll only need nine home runs and 48 RBI to reach that plateau. For him to reach that mark as a Phillie would make the moment even greater.
The biggest concern with Utley has always been health. This season, his chronic knees have gotten him through 80 games and nearly 300 at bats. While he won’t be a .330 hitter ever again, it’s a better bat than Hernandez.
Sure, this is probably a pipe dream, but from a leadership stand-point this makes sense. Chase Utley is a winner, leader, and all-time great within this franchise. He’ll teach hustle, leadership, and how to live as a major league player.