Dodgers Rumors: Clayton Kershaw, Others Pushed For Re-Signing Of Chase Utley
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The Los Angeles Dodgers recently came to terms with free-agent second baseman Chase Utley, as the veteran has reportedly agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal that includes incentives. Utley earned $7 million under a one-year pact with the Dodgers in 2016.

Utley served as the team’s everyday second baseman last year, but earlier this offseason Logan Forsythe was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays to take over that role, so the need to re-sign Utley diminished.

But the Dodgers front office, led by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi, valued Utley’s veteran leadership in the clubhouse, among other characteristics. Friedman recently said a reunion remained a possibility.

According to MLB insider Peter Gammons, Clayton Kershaw and some of his Dodgers teammates lobbied the front office to re-sign Utley:

It was clearly peer driven, respect from teammates, young and old, that even with the acquisition of Logan Forsythe—which was universally applauded by the Dodger players—the players lobbied Friedman and Zaidi for the return of Utley and his impact on what at times seemed to be a disjointed culture.

Zaidi and Friedman stayed in constant contact with Utley because, they too, hold the 38 year old in the highest personal and professional esteem. They heard from Corey Seager. They heard from Justin Turner. From Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill. They heard from Dave Roberts and all his coaches.

Utley hit .252/.319/.396 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, 52 RBIs and a 95 OPS+ over 138 games last season. On top of receiving regular playing time at second base, Utley also served as the Dodgers’ primary leadoff hitter.

He began the season hot, but the 38-year-old’s play diminished in the second half. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains bullish on Utley however, and said that he is going to ensure the veteran receives a fair share of playing time and at-bats this season.

Regardless of what he does on the field, Utley’s standing amongst his teammates, shortstop Corey Seager in particular, was enough to justify the Dodgers re-signing him.