Dodgers 2018 Player Review: Chase Utley

Dodgers 2018 Player Review: Chase Utley

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After re-signing Chase Utley to respective one-year contracts after the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he was retained by the Los Angeles Dodgers last winter on a two-year deal. The change was largely attributed to the organization’s efforts to remain below the luxury tax threshold.

Though, that the Dodgers would commit to Utley for multiple years was hardly a surprise. Of course, it later became clear that the 2018 season would be Utley’s last as a player, as he announced in July his intention to retire.

Upon making his intentions known, the 37-year-old had appeared in just 57 games (30 starts) on the year. Utley’s role on the field had reduced in 2017 and that carried into 2018 as he also scuttled at the plate.

Three weeks later, Utley landed on the 10-day disabled list with left wrist inflammation. It was his second DL stint of the season, with the first instance coming at the end of May because of a sprained left thumb.

Utley returned from the wrist issue when active rosters expanded on Sept. 1, and went on to appear in 18 games over the final month of the regular season, though making just two starts. He was hitless in 18 at-bats over that stretch, drawing three walks and striking out six times.

Utley finished the year batting .213/.305/.305 with 10 doubles, one triple, one home run and 14 RBI in 87 games.

Although his value, presence and impact was regularly praised by teammates, manager Dave Roberts and the front office, the Dodgers did not include Utley on any of their active rosters en route to a second consecutive World Series appearance.

2018 Highlight

One moment that epitomized Utley’s career came in the middle of April when he was hit by a pitch for the 200th time. He was far and away the active leader in the category, ranked ahead of Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (123) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim first baseman Albert Pujols (102). Utley wrapped up his career with 204 hit by pitches, which is eighth all time.

Another highlight for the veteran came shortly after he announced his retirement as he returned to Citizens Bank Park for a final time. Utley was treated to multiple standing ovations from the Philadelphia Phillies crowd, and again at Dodger Stadium during the final home game of the season.

2019 Outlook

Utley was officially released by the Dodgers on Nov. 11 to formally facilitate his retirement.