Dodgers Rumors: Chase Utley Agrees To 1-Year Contract
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers had nine players become free agents when the offseason began; the most prominent of which were Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner. By last December the Dodgers had retained the trio, committing over $190 million in salaries to do so.

The market hasn’t been as kind to Joe Blanton and Chase Utley, among others. While both veterans have been connected to multiple clubs, including the Dodgers, there’s been little traction gained for either on signing a new contract.

Utley was recently said to be deciding between four clubs, all of which are considered to be in contention to win a World Series this season.

According to Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, the 38-year-old agreed to re-sign with the Dodgers on a one-year deal:

While being relied upon as the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman and leadoff hitter, Utley batted .252/.319/.396 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, 52 RBI and a 95 OPS+ in 138 games last season. The role took its toll on Utley, as his production dropped off during the second half of the season.

Los Angeles never seemed intent on Utley again manning second base on an everyday basis in 2017. The club was connected to a multitude of players at the position, all of which were right-handed hitters, and eventually addressed the need by trading for Logan Forsythe.

However, that’s not to suggest the Dodgers were outright against re-signing Utley, even after acquiring Forsythe. Team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman suggested last month the Dodgers likely would have already retained Utley if not for a roster that’s heavy on left-handed hitters.

In October, Friedman praised Utley for the leadership and clubhouse presence. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts referred to the veteran as his ‘favorite player of all time,’ and while speaking from FanFest, Corey Seager restated his hope that the club would re-sign Utley.

The Dodgers would need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Utley, plus the expected signings of outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and relief pitcher Sergio Romo.