Chase Utley has been a fan favorite for the Philadelphia Phillies since he stepped on the turf at the old Veterans Stadium all the way back in 2003. He was a huge contributor for the Phillies when they won the World Series in 2008 but those were different times. This Phillies team is already 10 games under .500 and is showing no signs of a pulse.
It will be a tough sell for General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to trade Utley considering his reluctancy to trade anyone on his team last year and in the previous offseason. Perhaps someone needs to give Amaro a wake-up call and tell him that his team is going nowhere and that their farm system is one of the worst in baseball. They also play in the NL East where each team has been getting younger, especially in the starting rotation.
Pitching is a concern for the Phillies considering their pipeline does not consist of many promising pitching prospects. If Amaro decided to trade Utley the return for him would have to be significant, which is all but guaranteed because Utley is a premier second basemen. Here are some of the teams that could afford to give up multiple top prospects for a player like Utley.
San Francisco Giants
Currently the Giants have the best record in baseball at 39-21 and have been able to fire on all cylinders. However they have been able to do this with next-to-nothing production from the second base spot. Brandon Hicks has been starting for them but he is batting .182 which is well below the Mendoza line.
A trade for Utley would definitely have to include top pitching prospect Kyle Crick who is in Double-A and is ranked the 33rd best prospect by Baseball America. Add in another pitching prospect like Clayton Blackburn or Chris Stratton and the Phillies could be right back on track to contend in a few years.
Los Angeles Dodgers
After Dee Gordon’s torrid stretch to begin the season he has cooled off immensely, only batting .244 in the month of May and 2-13 so far in June. The Dodgers have been disappointing this year and a trade for a team leader like Utley could be just what they need to catapult their offense.
The Dodgers have a plethora of young pitching talent in their minor league system. Any combination of Zach Lee, Julio Urias or Chris Anderson would be more then enough for Utley and the Phillies would be foolish to turn down such an offer.
Another team that may become intrigued if Utley was to hit the market would be the Orioles. Right now they are starting Jonathan Schoop who has struggled in his first full major league season, only batting .228 with an on-base percentage of .268.
The Orioles are another team that is rich in pitching prospects and could be willing to trade a few of them away. Dylan Bundy is their top pitching prospect and is projected to be a front-end starter. Add him and the likes of 2013 draftee Hunter Harvey or lefty Eduardo Rodriguez and the Phillies would have some nice pieces to add to their depleted farm system.
Trading Utley will be difficult for Philadelphia fans and for the Phillies organization because he has meant so much to them in the past however it would be the wise thing to do. In baseball good pitching is what will win you the World Series, the Phillies of all teams should know that, so moving Utley for pitching prospects is the right move if they plan on contending anytime in the near future.