The Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday announced Chase Utley was granted an unconditional release in order to facilitate his official retirement. Utley announced his plans to step away from the game in July.
He explained the decision stemmed from a desire to spend more time with his family. Utley heads into retirement after spending the past 3.5 seasons with the Dodgers. They acquired the veteran infielder from the Philadelphia Phillies in an August 2015 trade.
Utley re-signed with the Dodgers on a one-year contract after both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, then inked a two-year deal ahead of 2018. Although his on-field production waned, Utley was heralded for his leadership and presence in the clubhouse.
His initial impact was most made on Corey Seager, but by his final year with the team, Utley had come to forge a strong relationship with Justin Turner and Kiké Hernandez, among others, as well.
Hernandez went so far as to name Utley for being responsible for the ‘best season’ of his career. While Utley’s playing career is behind him, the Dodgers have made it clear they wish for him to remain involved with the organization.
Though, considering the strong sentiment he expressed in being with his family, Utley is likely to at least spend the 2019 season away from baseball.