Dodgers News: Chase Utley Intends To Play Next Season
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Needing to find a replacement at second base with Howie Kendrick on the disabled list due to a hamstring strain, the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Chase Utley on Aug. 20.

Part of the deal included the Philadelphia Phillies sending $4 million to offset the remaining $6 million on Utley’s $15 million salary for the 2015 season.

The veteran reunited with former teammate Jimmy Rollins, and allowed the Dodgers to move Kiké Hernandez into center field on a full-time basis.

Once Kendrick returned from injury, Utley saw some time at third base and was relegated to a role as a pinch-hitter. Given that Utley was injured for much of the year, he failed to meet the required plate appearances for a 2016 option to vest.

As such, the Dodgers can, and are largely expected to, decline Utley’s option (valued from $5-11 million). The 36 year old nonetheless plans on playing next season, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

“One hundred percent he is playing next year,” Utley’s representative, Joel Wolfe, told The Post.

Assuming Utley does become a free agent, re-signing with the Dodgers for a lesser salary would be possible, albeit perhaps somewhat unlikely.

Utley’s biggest moment with the Dodgers came in Game 2 of the National League Division Series when his hard slide upended New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada’s leg, and turned momentum for the Dodgers.

Major League Baseball handed down a two-game suspension as a result of the slide, though Utley appealed and remained eligible to play throughout the NLDS. However, then-Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t utilize Utley until a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning of Game 5.

Once the Dodgers were eliminated from the postseason, the appeal hearing was postponed for a later date. If the suspension is upheld, Utley will miss the first two games of the 2016 season.

If Utley is deserving of punishment, why wasn’t the Cardinal’s fracturing of Hanley Ramirez’ rib in his first at bat of the series also worthy of some acknowledgement by MLB?

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