When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Chase Utley in August 2015, it marked the end of an era for the six-time All-Star. After spending the previous 12 years with the Philadelphia Phillies, Utley would don a new uniform for the first time in his career.
But with that, it was a homecoming for Utley, as the Pasadena, Calif., native finally suited up for the club that originally drafted him in 1997. Utley opted against signing with the Dodgers, however, and played collegiately at UCLA before being selected by the Phillies with the 15th overall pick in 2000.
In just two and a half seasons with the Los Angeles, Utley was lauded for his leadership skills, among other contributions. He has especially played a huge role in Corey Seager’s development thus far, serving as a mentor to the young shortstop.
Now a free agent, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently said he hopes Utley will remain with the organization in some capacity — even after he eventually decides to retire — according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Friedman has looked ahead and he is very clear that he wants Utley to stay in the Dodgers’ organization in some capacity even after his playing career ends.
“Whenever that is, we will stalk him,” Friedman said. “We. Will. Stalk. Him.”
Utley, who turns 39 years old on Sunday, owns a career slash line of .276/.359/.469 with 401 doubles, 258 home runs and 1,011 RBI in 7,676 plate appearances (1,850 games).
In a reduced role this past season, he hit .236/.324/.405 with 32 extra-base hits over 353 trips to the plate and 127 contests. Utley was hitless in 15 postseason at-bats, but advanced to his third career World Series — his first appearance in the Fall Classic since 2009.
It remains to be seen whether Utley resumes his playing career in 2018, but should he return to the field next season, it would be a mild surprise if the Dodgers bring him back into the fold, even on another one-year contract.
Nonetheless, Utley was photographed alongside Justin Turner on Thursday as part of the Dodgers’ contingent on a goodwill trip to Dubai.