Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Calls Chase Utley His ‘Favorite Player Of All Time’
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In August 2015 the Los Angeles Dodgers added a strong presence to the clubhouse by trading for Chase Utley. He reunited with longtime double-play partner Jimmy Rollins, who left the Philadelphia Phillies via free agency prior to the 2015 season.

However, Utley quickly found himself playing alongside Corey Seager. The Dodgers called up their top prospect in September of that year while Rollins remained sidelined due to injury. Seager supplanted the veteran as the starting shortstop, and began learning under Utley’s tutelage.

In somewhat of a surprise, Los Angeles re-signed Utley last offseason to a one-year deal. Although the veteran second baseman struggled in limited time with the Dodgers, President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the organization valued Utley’s leadership and were confident he’d produce.

Sure enough, the 14-year veteran established himself as the club’s starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. Though, that took a toll on Utley and he struggled to replicate his early success as the season wore on.

The Long Beach, Calif., native nonetheless made a lasting impression on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who called Utley his favorite player, according to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider:

The high praise matches the sentiment Roberts shared on several instances last season. Even as Utley began to scuttle at the plate, the rookie manager’s confidence never wavered. Utley finished the season batting .252/.319/.396 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, 52 RBI and a 95 OPS+ in 138 games.

The six-time All-Star once again is a free agent, and the Dodgers are said to have some interest in a reunion. During an end-of-season press conference, Friedman highlighted the intangibles Utley brings to a club.

Utley was the Dodgers’ recipient for the Heart and Hustle Award last season, which the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) presents to one player on each team who “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball,” and also performs well on the field.