After the 2015 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers made a somewhat surprising decision to re-sign Chase Utley. It turned out to be pivotal, as the veteran emerged as the club’s primary second baseman and leadoff hitter the following season.
Utley did cool off as the year wore on, but he again was retained on a one-year contract. It again came with an understanding that Utley would not fill an everyday role for the club. Logan Forsythe had already been acquired, and he was penciled to start at second base.
While Utley had stretches where he swung the ball well, the 2017 season as a whole left some to be desired. Particularly in the postseason, as the 39-year-old went 0-for-15.
But Utley has intentions to continue playing, and the Dodgers remained interested in bringing him back, leading to an agreement on a two-year contract, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
sources: chase utley has agreed to a two-year deal with the dodgers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 13, 2018
Utley will earn $2 million in the deal, per Andy McCullough of the L.A Times:
Chase Utley’s deal is expected to be for two years and $2 million, when it is finalized.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 14, 2018
That Utley would eventually re-sign with the Dodgers this winter was largely a foregone conclusion. He continued to work out with several players at Dodger Stadium, which Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said the organization was fully accepting of.
Moreover, Zaidi, team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts have all lauded Utley for his experience and leadership that have contributed to a strong clubhouse foundation.
Utley has hit .240/.317/.395 with 55 doubles, eight triples, 25 home runs and a 95 RBI in 299 games over parts of three seasons with the Dodgers. He produced a 92 OPS+ the past two years, which were both full seasons with the team.
Giving the 39-year-old a two-year contract is a bit of a surprise, although it can save some money in regards to the luxury tax threshold, which could have been the reasoning for it.