While the Los Angeles Dodgers filled their void at second base with an external option in trading for Logan Forsythe, the club remains interested in re-signing their 2016 starting second baseman.
That would sit well with Corey Seager, who during FanFest restated his hope that Utley remains in Los Angeles. “Still hoping there’s a chance he comes back,” Seager said. “He was tremendous for me, can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me.”
The 22-year-old shortstop added that he and Utley have spoken during the offseason, but not since the Dodgers traded for Forsythe.
“I think he was,” Seager answered when asked if Utley was hopeful to re-sign with the Dodgers. Speaking after the Forsythe trade, team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said reuniting with the 38-year-old remained a possibility.
Affinity for Utley stretches well beyond Seager. Last October, Friedman lauded the veteran for his clubhouse presence and intangibles. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently called Utley his ‘favorite player of all time.’
What’s more, Utley was the Dodgers’ recipient of the 2016 Heart and Hustle Award, which the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) presented to one player on each team who “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball,” and also performs well on the field.
Utley batted .252/.319/.396 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, 52 RBI and a 95 OPS+ in 138 games last season. He not only assumed the starting role at second base, but also served as the club’s primary leadoff hitter.
It was a role Utley excelled in during the early stages of the season, but ultimately playing everyday became a tall order for the 14-year veteran. Even prior to trading for Forsythe, Los Angeles’ interest in Utley presumably was in a bench role.