Chase Utley leads the majors in on-base percentage. Credit: Getty Images
Ryne Sandberg needs to get in the habit of resting Chase Utley more regularly.
The second baseman saw his batting average drop from .305 on June 20 to .286 on July 4.
Just as has been demonstrated throughout the All Star’s entire career, he is great after a day off.
After riding the Bench on July 6, Utley bounced back for four total hits in back-to-back wins over the Brewers on Monday and Tuesday, collecting five RBI. The Phillies are showing some life, but are still miles away from contention. Which begs the question: would Utley accept a trade to play somewhere more competitive?
“I know we haven’t played up to expectations, but I still have faith in this organization,” Utley told reporters after Tuesday’s 9-7 win. “We can turn it around and get back to the level we were once at.”
Utley has been a Phillie through it all. From the highest of highs and a World Series title in 2008, to a remarkable 102 wins in 2011, to the depths of last place and three consecutive seasons of frustration.
But Utley is not the kind of player who loses faith on his teammates. When he signed his most recent two-year contract extension (with an option for a third year), the Phillies were 11 games under .500 last July. If he didn’t want to test free agency then, why would he want to get waive his no-trade clause now?
Hamels would accept trade to nine teams
Cole Hamels is a valuable asset to the Phillies.
Not only is he among the best and most consistent pitchers in the National League, but he is also under contract for four more seasons and just turned 30 this past offseason.
For a moment, set aside the question of why the Phillies would trade Hamels (a sizable return in prospects) or if (probably not) they will. There are only nine teams Hamels’ limited no-trade clause would allow him to go.
Those teams are the Dodgers, Padres, Angels, Cardinals, Nationals, Braves, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers.
Lets hope the Phils wouldn’t be willing to face their left-handed ace for the next decade by sending him to Washington or Atlanta. The rest of the listed squads have rich farm systems, and are usually in contention for a playoff spot. So a Hamels trade is possible to one of nine clubs. But the asking price will undoubtedly be high and he could be a key piece of the Phillies (possible) rebuilding plans.