After one season with Howie Kendrick, the Los Angeles Dodgers must fill a need at second base as the 32 year old became a free agent and declined the club’s one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer.
Last month Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified Kiké Hernandez and Jose Peraza as options at second base.
Friedman reiterated that view on Tuesday when speaking at the Dave Roberts introductory press conference.
One conceivable option in a platoon role may be veteran infielder Chase Utley, who the Dodgers remain interested in, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark:
Angels & Dodgers both remain interested in Chase Utley. One friend of Utley says he has options, but his preference is to play in California
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 3, 2015
Stark later added the San Diego Padres have expressed an interest in Utley:
The Padres are the latest Calif. team to show strong interest in Chase Utley. Reported earlier that the Angels & Dodgers had interest.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 4, 2015
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi previously confirmed the club’s interest in re-signing Utley. Los Angeles acquired Utley from the Philadelphia Phillies in August amid a need to find a replacement for Kendrick, who landed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.
Utley, who will turn 37 years old on Dec. 17, hit .202/.291/.363 in 34 games with the Dodgers. He faces a two-game suspension for a hard slide into second base during Game 2 of the National League Division Series that broke New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada’s leg.
Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers declined Utley’s $11 million option for 2016; the $2 million buyout was paid by the Phillies per terms of the August trade.
Along with logging time at second base, Utley made starts (three) at third base for the first time in his Major League career. The Long Beach, Calif., native and UCLA product waived his full no-trade clause in order to be dealt to the Dodgers.
Los Angeles reportedly is also interested in utility man Ben Zobrist, who has ties to Friedman during their days with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.