Chase Utley: World Ph*&^ing Champ.


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Chase Utley is going to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, along with $2 million, for two minor leaguers that we don’t yet know the identity of. This will bring his wonderful time in Philadelphia to an end. He will go down as the best second baseman in club history, and a key member of the greatest era in the club’s history.

Utley leaves as an absolute fan favorite. Fans absolutely loved his “blue collar” style of baseball, especially the hustle he constantly showed on the field. He ran every ball out hard, and that goes a long way in Philadelphia. He was also involved in the community off the field, raising money for the SPCA and being very involved in the animal rights movement. There wasn’t much you could say bad about Chase Utley, to be honest.

Just how good was Chase Utley? He was a six-time All-Star and three-hole hitter for a team that dominated the NL East for a half-decade, so it’s clear he was very good. Some rate him as the second-best position player the Phillies have had in the modern era, some rate him as the third best on those great teams. The advanced-metrics community rates him as a runaway great in his era, a player who’s WAR matches up with A-Rod, Pujols, and Cabrera in his era. His “traditional” stats are unlikely to hit some of the milestones associated with the Hall-of-Fame- 3,000 hits, 500 homers, 500 steals or any others. Chase Utley from 2005 through 2010 was the runaway best second baseman in the National League, who only really counted Dustin Pedroia as a peer in baseball in that era. From 2011 through today he battled an assortment of leg injuries that limited his playing time, and sapped a lot of the power from his bat. Even so, his statistics rate amongst some very elite company at second base, and give Utley a chance to reach the Hall-of-Fame, even though I think his case for enshrinement will be very close. His place in Phillies lore is unchallenged, and should be, but where he ends up in baseball history will somewhat depend on how the 36 year old moves forward, both down the stretch in 2015, and into 2016.

My favorite moment in Chase Utley history was obviously his back-to-back homers with Ryan Howard in the third game of the 2008 World Series (I was there and nearly lost my voice). His career in Philadelphia will be defined by his great Octobers in 2008 and 2009, his hustle and grit on the field, and the success that wonderful team had together. It’s easy to question “what if” his health had held up a little bit better over the years, but I think that’s largely irrelevant now, because it’s the past, and because the rest of the team had health issues too. There really is no other second baseman in club history who’s career resume even remotely approaches that of Chase, who is a top ten all-time Phillies player in a number of major offensive categories.

Utley will now head to Los Angeles, the team he grew up a fan of, in the city he went to college in. Phillies fans will miss Chase Utley, but I know that I for one would be very satisfied if he and Jimmy Rollins got their second rings together this October in Hollywood. Phillies fans will surely miss Chase, but we all wish him the best of luck in Los Angeles.

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