As top players remain free agents in what’s been a historically slow MLB offseason, the likes of Chase Utley and others on the open market who are not in their prime, have been impacted by a domino effect.
Utley is coming off a disappointing season, his second full year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and despite being 39 years old, has not given any indication he’s set to retire. Quite the contrary, Utley has joined several of his former teammates for offseason workouts at Dodger Stadium.
To some, it’s considered only a matter of time until the UCLA product re-signs with the Dodgers on yet another one-year contract. “Yeah I mean, we’ve had conversations,” general manager Farhan Zaidi said at Dodgers FanFest when asked if there was interest in a reunion.
“He’s obviously had a huge impact on this organization the last couple of years and the clubhouse. We do have some young players that we’re looking to get more at-bats for and create more opportunities for.
“Particularly at second base, we do have a multitude of options there, so kind of going through the baseball fit. If we can get together on a role and what the opportunity looks like — obviously, his impact in the clubhouse is something we’d love to have going forward as well.”
Other than a report mentioning the Dodgers, there’s been nothing on which teams have interest in the veteran outfielder. Considering Utley last winter put an emphasis on signing with a contender, remaining in Los Angeles seems a plausible scenario.
Even while he remains a free agent, it’s clear the Dodgers are perfectly comfortable with Utley continuing to use their facilities. “I don’t want to get too into behind-the-scenes conversations, (but) he’s obviously got a lot of relationships here,” Zaidi said.
“With his stature in the game and in the organization, we were comfortable with that.”