Last season the Los Angeles Dodgers relied heavily on Chase Utley to not only be their regular second baseman, but also to be the club’s primary leadoff hitter. While Utley began the season strong, which helped him secure an everyday job, his production diminished leading into the All-Star break and throughout the second half of the season.
The Dodgers were connected to multiple second basemen this offseason to find an answer at second base, and ultimately traded for Logan Forsythe, sending Jose De Leon to the Tampa Bay Rays. With Forsythe taking over the starting job, there was further doubt cast as to whether Utley would return for another season in Los Angeles.
But that came to fruition nearly two weeks ago when the 38-year-old agreed to re-sign with the Dodgers on a one-year, $2 million deal. Utley’s contract was then finalized two days prior to position players reporting to Camelback Ranch.
Although the Long Beach., Calif native is said to have rejected a more lucrative offer, and his salary is less than last year’s $7 million pact, Utley’s deal includes incentives based on games played and plate appearances, via the Associated Press, the incentives are based on games played and plate appearances:
Chase Utley can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses: $62,500 each for 40, 60, 80 and 100 games; $62,500 apiece for 400 and 450 plate appearances; and $125,000 for 500 plate appearances.
In 138 games in 2016, his most since the 2014 season, Utley hit .252/.319/.396 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, 52 RBI and a 95 OPS+. His games played should decrease this season, as the veteran fills a backup role off the bench.
Though, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did state he will ensure Utley gets his fair share of playing time and at-bats.
Utley has logged a minimum of 500 plate appearances in in all but three seasons since 2005, and appeared in at least 100 games in all but one season during that same span.