If there ever was a player who gave the Dodgers exactly what they asked for, it’s veteran old man Chase Utley. The Dodgers originally traded for Utley in the second half of the 2015 season. The Dodgers swapped a pair of failed prospects for Utley. At the time the Dodgers needed some help in the middle infield and on the bench. When the Dodgers resigned him last spring on a two-year deal, he was expected to provide some veteran leadership and mentoring for the younger players. He was also there to give the Dodgers some good late inning at-bats off the bench.
He’s done just that and more during his four season tenure with the Dodgers. Utley announced today that he will be retiring after the 2018 season ends. Looking back on his first stint with the Dodgers in 2015, we can see how the silver fox made such an impression. Everyone remembers his take-out slide in game 2 of the 2015 NLDS against the Mets that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg and kept the Dodgers alive long enough for Adrian Gonzalez to drive in the go-ahead runs later in the inning.
If you google search Utley, dirty slide comes up in the SERP results. Of course before the slide Utley had already played an entire career in Philadelphia, and it was legendary. They called Utley “The Man” and he was quite a player in his Philadelphia heyday. Utley played for 13 seasons with Philadelphia, amassing 1,622 hits and 233 home runs (259 total). He was selected to six all-star squads and won four silver sluggers. He’s hit 26 home runs with the Dodgers and has scored 1,100 runs in his illustrious career. He’s totaled 65.6 WAR over his 17 Major League seasons.
Utley has hit 10 home runs and driven in 27 runs in 258 postseason plate appearances. That includes five home runs in the 2009 World Series against the Yankees. Utley has played in three World Series, winning one in 2008 (Phillies over Tampa Bay). During his career he tortured the Mets (39 home runs 116 runs batted in, .900 OPS, 197 hits) and his old division rivals in the National League East. He hit 30 home runs against the Marlins and 24 against the Braves.
I’m sad to see Utley go. I’ll never forget his incredible diving catch to preserve Rich Hill’s perfect game. Hill went on to lose the perfecto, the no-hitter and the game but not because of Chase Utley’s effort that’s for sure. I’ll never forget Utley’s great glove work and shovel passes to first. Who could ever forget his grand slam against the Mets at Citi field which was part of a two-homer day? Or his grand slam in Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank Park and the subsequent standing ovation given to him from the city of Philly and his old teammates.
With all of the players pimping home runs and bat flipping these days, it’s refreshing to see a guy like Utley that goes about his business quietly. Utley will remain with the Dodgers for the remainder of the season. He’ll be around to pinch-hit and continue to teach the young players how to play baseball. Hopefully he’ll get to play in one last World Series before he hangs up his cleats. Check out his press conference from this afternoon below.