When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for second baseman Chase Utley in August 2015, it was thought to be just an extra bat and some veteran leadership for the postseason that year.
What the Dodgers couldn’t have envisioned is that they would bring Utley back for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, and that he would be an essential part of two more division-winning teams. That was particularly true for this season, as the Dodgers acquired Logan Forsythe prior to re-signing Utley.
He primarily spent the year playing off the bench though did fill in at second base when Forsythe suffered a fractured toe. Prior to the Dodgers’ postseason run coming to an end, Utley said he was uncertain on whether he’d play next season, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“That’s a good question. Again, I try not to look too far ahead,” Utley said when asked how much longer he expects to play. “But I think it’s no secret that I’m not getting any younger and my hair is not getting any darker. I still enjoy the competition. I still enjoy the grind. … And I still feel I can contribute in a number of different ways. It’s something that I don’t think a ton about. But clearly there’s not a whole lot more years left.”
Many people thought Utley was finished when he struggled at the plate to close out the 2016 season and began 2017 by batting just .098 (5-for-51) in his first 24 games. He rebounded some, but still finished the year hitting just .236/.324/.405 with 20 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 34 RBI.
Utley was among six players who spent the season with the Dodgers to reach free agency the morning after the World Series concluded. It would appear another one-year contract with the club this time truly is not in the cards.