What Happened In 2017: Started off the season with a cold bat and went hitless in the postseason, but contributed with his veteran presence in the clubhouse while playing 80 games at second base.
Even though Chase Utley started the season off abysmally at the plate, going 5-for-53 in the first 24 games he played, the Silver Fox warmed up and hit .314/.402/.571/.974 with three doubles, three triples, three home runs, 14 RBI and even three stolen bases in May. Baseball Dad had something to say about his career being over. His production in May was welcomed, yet unexpected. If it wasn’t for Logan Forsythe‘s struggles against right-handed pitching — he hit 100 points lower vs. RHP than LHP — Utley wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play 127 games for the Dodgers, including 80 games at second base and 17 games at first. After his red hot May, he cooled off again in June, but bounced back for a decent July.
Unfortunately, Utley ended the season and possibly his career on a down note, similarly to his slump in the latter part of 2016. He was unable to channel his days with the Phillies when they reigned in the postseason, and he went hitless in all three rounds of the playoffs, including the World Series for the Dodgers in 2017.
Utley’s career may have been running on fumes in 2017, but the Dodgers’ $2 million was well-spent on the unexpected production they did get out of him. His contributions to the team as far as mentoring the younger players, like Corey Seager, was invaluable.
Should Utley retire, his signature scoop plays, hidden ball trickery and incredible instinct around the infield will surely be missed. The Man still gave the Dodgers some big moments in 2017.
For example, Utley collected his 1,000th career RBI in July.
He also made some impressive plays at second base for an old guy, including his diving catch in the eighth-inning to preserve Rich Hill‘s bid for a perfect game in August.
And his splash hit into McCovey Cove off Johnny Cueto on Sept. 12, possibly one of the last homers of his career should he retire, won’t soon be forgotten.
2018 Status: Utley is currently a free agent and is no longer contractually part of the organization, but he has continued to work out with his former teammates this offseason at Dodger Stadium. It’s unlikely the Dodgers bring back the 39-year-old, but it also was surprising when they signed him to a one-year deal last winter. You never know. Or he could continue to be the master troll that he is and sign with the Mets.