Chase Utley won four consecutive NL silver slugger awards for second base, from 2006-2009. Credit: Getty Images
Much like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley loves playing in Philadelphia. He recently indicated that he would like to remain in red pinstripes despite the team’s woes. Just like J-Roll, Utley has a full-no trade clause.
Even though some fans, perhaps best described as the vocal minority, would like to see Utley for prospects, many behind Ryne Sandberg’s team love the Phillie with the shortest and sweetest swing and wouldn’t mind him remaining.
Utley’s ardent supporters voted the greatest second baseman in club history to the All-Star game Tuesday in Minneapolis. Utley, who will make his sixth All-Star appearance, led throughout the balloting process and he deserves to start for the National League.
“He looks good,” former teammate and Washington Nationals rightfielder Jayson Werth said. “It’s good to see him battle through the injuries he’s had. He’s a fun player to watch. It’s good to see him going about his business the way he can. He’s running like we know he can. He’s playing the game the way we’re accustomed to see him play. I’m really happy for him. He deserves the All-Star appearance this week.”
The Phillies are in the middle of their third lackluster season in a row. However, Utley, who has played in 90 of the Phillies 93 games, is having another terrific campaign. Utley, 35, entered the game Sunday hitting .297, his best at this point since he hit .332 in 2007. Utley has also hit eight homers and driven in 46.
Utley, who is the Phillies lone All-Star representative, has also been a doubles machine with 24 two-baggers this season.
“Chase has been incredibly consistent but isn’t that the way he’s always been,” Ben Revere said.
When Utley, who was plagued by knee problems from 2010 to 2012, is healthy he has been a main cog for the Phillies, offensively and defensively. Utley, who has committed six errors this season, has a solid .986 fielding percentage.
“The bottom line is that Chase is one of the best players of our generation,” Werth said. “That’s not debatable. It’s great to see him back in true form. I still keep in touch with him. He knows how I feel.
Could Werth, who opted to leave the Phillies after the 2010 season, see Utley, who is arguably the most popular athlete in Philadelphia, saying goodbye the City of Brotherly Love?
“That would be very hard to imagine,” Werth said. “When you think of the Phillies and Philadelphia, you think Chase Utley. He’s homegrown and they love him here and why wouldn’t they? He’s a big reason for the success that franchise has had. Can I see him elsewhere? I’ll believe it when I see it. I can’t imagine the Phillies trading Chase.”